The announcement of further funding for the initial stages of the Northern Hub is a welcome show of confidence in rail bringing benefits to passengers as well as driving economic growth. To realise the project’s total value of £4bn to the Northern economy and create between 20,000 and 30,000 new jobs, the final stages of funding will need to be supported in the rail budgets to be announced later this year.
“When completed, this project will be a clear demonstration of how investment in smart infrastructure can unlock economic potential by connecting commerce and communities across cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle with 700 new train services each day.”
The announcement will increase capacity on the Sheffield-Manchester line and increase line speeds on this line and the Manchester-Bradford via Rochdale and Halifax and Manchester-Preston via Bolton lines.
The Northern Hub is Network Rail’s plan to stimulate economic growth by allowing for faster, more frequent rail services the cities of the North and will restore and improve Manchester Victoria station. It will provide 700 extra trains a day for 3.5million more people to travel by rail every year and allow for the doubling of capacity into the Trafford Park freight terminals.
The Northern Hub will bring £4bn worth of benefits to the region and could create 20,000 to 30,000 jobs. Including the costs of the new trains this is a return of £4 for every £1 invested.
The Ordsall Chord, a new link in Manchester city centre was given £85m of funding in the March 2011 budget. The development work of other aspects of the Northern Hub will continue as planned.