The spring budget had further good news for the Northern Hub capacity increase project.
In a further show of confidence in railways Chancellor George Osborne backed the scheme with a further £130m.
The investment will raise line speeds and increase capacity on the Sheffield-Manchester line, the Manchester-Bradford via Rochdale and Halifax and Manchester-Preston via Bolton lines.
Network Rail welcomed the move. Says chief executive, David Higgins, ‘Today’s 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 project means restoring Manchester Victoria and will also double rail freight capacity on lines connecting the Trafford Park freight terminals.
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.