Network Rail has unveiled plans to adapt an existing freight yard to stable and maintain 24 electric and eight diesel trains in Wigan.
The £46 million project will see a brand new train maintenance facility built for Northern at the Springs Branch sidings in Ince-in-Makerfield.
New overhead line equipment, staff accommodation, train washing and fuelling facilities will be included.
Network Rail said that almost 20 jobs will be created at the site, which has been chosen because of its easy access to the electrified rail network.
With the number of passengers set to double in the North over the next 25 years, Network Rail said that more depots are needed to enable the more frequent services and additional trains planned by 2020.
Network Rail scheme project manager Lauren Jones said: “This brand new depot, which forms part of the Great North Rail Project, not only delivers a jobs boost for Greater Manchester, but the facilities it will provide will help transform passenger journeys across the north.”
Northern engineering director Ben Ackroyd added: “The new maintenance depot is a key part of our wider modernisation programme.
“By 2020 we will have retired all Pacers, refurbished our entire fleet and, of course, will have introduced our brand new electric and diesel trains. We will need state-of-the-art facilities to look after these trains and Springs Branch is a key part of this.
“We look forward to working with Network Rail on this project which is clear evidence, not only of partnership railway in action, but also of the economic benefit the railway brings to the region.”
Preparation work started on April 9 and project completion is planned for December 2019.