‘Truly world-class’: Cameron praises £9.4billion rail renovation as Northern Hub set to transform Manchester trains

By Dean Wilkins

A total overhaul of Greater Manchester’s train lines is included in the government’s latest £9.4billion package to renovate rail lines across the UK.

Northern Hub improvements will connect services from Manchester city centre, the airport and Liverpool and is expected to cost £322million during 2014 to 2019.

The renovations are in addition to the £477million already allocated for schemes such as electrification of the North Trans-Pennine route between York and Manchester.

Minister David Cameron hailed the changes as the ‘biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian era’.

Cameron said: “From Crossrail, high-speed rail and now the billions of pounds of investment we are announcing today, this Government is committed to taking the long-term decisions to deliver growth and jobs.

He added: “This investment will mean faster journeys, more seats, better access to stations, greater freight links and a truly world-class rail network.”

Chancellor George Osborne said: “I am pleased that the Northern Hub will be funded in full as part of the Government’s plans, which is a significant boost for the major towns and cities of the north, helping to rebalance the UK economy and enabling growth and regeneration throughout the regions.

“This Government is making more funds available to invest in rail projects than at any time since the Victorian era, and shows that the Government is committed to delivering on its promises to support investment in public infrastructure that will support economic growth.”

Labour criticised the plans, which they had drawn up in 2009, as ‘ a bit rich’ for the coalition to take credit for them – having spent two years of ‘dither and delay’.

Many rail users are wary of the investment as higher fares are expected to cover the costs.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “This is the biggest expansion in railways in over 150 years, with more than £9 billion of investment across the country.

“Whilst we inherited a deficit greater than any in our nation’s peace-time history, we knew that we had to give the country the boost it needs, to build great railways and make journeys better for the millions of hard-working people who use the train every day.

“The ‘Electric Spine’ will make a significant difference for passengers, linking London, the Midlands and Yorkshire in a much more efficient rail line, connecting the south and north more effectively than ever before.

“As someone who cares deeply about the environment, the opportunity to dramatically expand rail, a greener form of transport than aviation or road, is very exciting indeed. This investment will help people to choose trains over cars, reduce carbon emissions and provide a rail system that is faster, more reliable and greener.”


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