consults on the future of rail services in the North
RAIL passengers in the
North are being asked what improvements they want to see for
services across the region as the government considers how the
Northern and TransPennine franchises can best make use of the
massive investment being rolled out across the network.
Routes across the region will benefit from extensive electrification
and upgrades over the next 5 years as part of the government's £1
billion investment in the Northern network, paving the way for up to
700 extra trains every day and 44 million additional passengers a
year. That will mean better journeys, improved connections and more
modern trains for passengers and business commuters, travelling
between the key strategic Cities of Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield,
Manchester and Newcastle and onwards to Edinburgh and Glasgow. To
support this transformation and ensure that both franchises are best
placed to meet the demands of passengers, the Department for
Transport has, Monday, 9 June 2014, launched a consultation into the
future of rail services across the region.
Rail Minister Stephen Hammond said:- "Rail travel across the
north will be transformed over the next five years thanks to £1
billion of government investment. That means more seats, improved
connections and better journeys for millions of passengers
travelling across this region. To make sure we make the most of this
investment and deliver a railway that is truly world class and
boosts our economy it is vital that we hear the views of the people
who use these services. This is further proof of our commitment to
put passengers at the heart of our railways."
Both the TPE and the Northern franchises are set to be awarded by
February 2016. The consultation will look at how the new franchises
► Make best use of the significant
capacity improvements planned for the network to tackle crowding and
meet future passenger demand.
► Provide faster and more frequent
services to scores of destinations across the region.
► Improve rolling stock, including
proposals to replace Pacer trains across the Northern franchise.
► Deliver a more efficient network that
meets customer needs and drives forward the economy.
► Improve customer services and passenger
► In addition to the consultation
document, the DfT has issued 2 prospectuses outlining the details of
the franchises to prospective bidders.
The TPE and Northern franchises carried more than 110 million
passengers last year across one of the most diverse rail networks in
the country. The franchises provide a range of services covering
inter-urban, commuter and rural services. Rail travel across the
region has seen significant growth in the past decade with demand
growing by 66% between 2002 and 2012.
In order to meet this demand Network Rail are carrying a massive
upgrade of the network, including the £600 million Northern Hub
project, North West Electrification and Trans-Pennine
Electrification project which will make rail journeys faster,
greener and more reliable.
The consultation will run until 18 August 2014. The document can be
Airports Commission publishes discussion on the UK's Existing
THE Airports Commission is
on Monday, 9 June 2014, are calling for evidence on the connectivity
and business models of the UK's existing airport capacity.
The publication considers the national aviation picture from which
the Commission is considering the shortlisted options for additional
capacity in London and the South East. This call for evidence
focuses on the domestic and international connectivity provided by
regional airports and airports serving London and the South East
other than Heathrow and Gatwick, and considers what recommendations
the Commission could usefully make to shape this national picture.
Launching the publication in Scotland, Sir Howard Davies, Chair of
the Airports Commission said:- "Regional airports and those in
London and the South East other than Gatwick and Heathrow remain
critical to the Commission's analysis; it is clear that in the
future these airports will play a crucial national role, especially
at a time when the major London airports are operating very close to
capacity. The publication further examines connectivity trends at
these airports, how the business models of these airports are
developing and whether the connectivity provided by these airports
can be enhanced."
Details on contributing to the consultation, The Utilisation of the
UK's Existing Airport capacity, can be found
How do you think this will affect airports like Liverpool, Blackpool
and Manchester? Let us know your views by emailing us to:-
advised of changes to train services as railway investment in the
North West continues
RAIL passengers are being
urged to plan their journeys if travelling in or out of Liverpool
via St Helens Junction or St Helens Central in July as investment in
the network may affect their travel. As from Saturday, 5 July
2014 to Sunday, 13 July 2014, as Network Rail will be upgrading the
railway network between Edge Hill and Bryn, via St Helens Central,
and between Edge Hill and St Helens Junction as part of the £1bn+
Northern Hub and North West Electrification Programme.
The improvements will help to provide better services between
Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and the north east of England by
reducing journey times, improving reliability and helping to provide
extra capacity for passengers.
Much of the work is taking place in the Huyton and Roby area to
remove a bottleneck from the network which causes disruption and
delays to services. A new third track will be completed to allow
faster trains to pass slower services and additional platforms will
be built. Other station improvements include improved customer
information systems, new lifts and improved access via subways.
A large amount of the improvements have already been carried out
while services continued to operate across the route but owing to
the significant work involved in building new track and platforms,
it is necessary to close the line between 5 and 13 July. Alternative
routes will be available and buses will replace the usual timetable.
Ian Joslin, area director for Network Rail, said:- "This is
the latest phase of more than £1bn of investment in the railway in
the north of England to provide a better service for passengers. The
investment will deliver faster journey times, more seats and
capacity and more reliable journeys, all of which are vital to the
continued growth of the railway and the positive impact it has on
the economy. The work has been carefully planned so the closure is
for the shortest amount of time possible. We apologise for any
inconvenience caused but I am confident the short term-pain will be
worth the long term gain."
Alex Hynes, managing director for Northern Rail, added that:-
"The upgrade work around Huyton and Roby this summer is the
continuation of significant investment in infrastructure in the
north of England. We want to make sure our customers are aware of
the changes and understand the excellent benefits they will
experience once the work is complete. Not only will it provide more
capacity but it will also improve journey times for our customers.
It heralds the beginning of the final phase of electrification work
between Liverpool and Manchester, which will see our additional
electric trains operating from December 2014 and is something to
Chris Nutton, programme director for First TransPennine Express
commented that:- "Our new direct service between Liverpool and
Newcastle via Manchester Victoria has already proved very popular
with customers. We have been able to introduce this new service as a
result of the investment projects that have been ongoing. The
railway in the north of England is being transformed over the next
few years and customers will feel the benefit of faster and longer
trains and improved journey choice. To enable these improvements,
sections of the network need to be closed for a short period of
time. This is the quickest and most efficient way of delivering an
improved railway for customers and we would advise customers who
normally travel between Liverpool and Manchester to check the
details of their journeys before travelling."
Passengers are already seeing the benefits of investment in the
railway in the North West. From May 2014, a new direct service from
Manchester Victoria to Liverpool was introduced which takes just 33
minutes between the two cities, a 10 minute journey time reduction
Ahead of the railway closure, the public subway at Huyton will be
closed from 16 June 2014 for one week to carry out work to improve
accessibility. Passengers and local people should use the
alternative route through the subway at the railway station.
Staff will be on site 24/7 to provide assistance and free wheelchair
friendly transport will be available to take anyone unable to use
the steps to the other side of the station.
Further works will take place on the railway to complete the final
phase of electrification of the route between Manchester and
Liverpool before electric trains begin to operate from December
For the latest information regarding the closure and to plan
journeys, passengers should check before they travel