Cheshire high-speed links to Manchester confirmed
High speed rail links to Manchester from Crewe and Warrington have been confirmed as part of the Governments integrated rail plan. As part of the GBP96 billion package for the North and the Midlands, it was announced that a new high-speed line between Warrington, Manchester and Marsden in Yorkshire would be created. The Government also reaffirmed its commitment to creating the Crewe to Manchester leg of HS2.
of the top stories from across Cheshire here. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “My mission is to level up opportunity across our country, which is why we’re making train journeys faster and more reliable through the biggest ever public investment in our rail network. “This is because better rail connections are essential for growing local economies and businesses, and our Integrated Rail Plan will deliver better services to more people, more quickly.
HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson at Crewe Railway Station (Image: HS2)
“Levelling up has to be for everyone, not just the biggest cities.
That’s why we will transform transport links between our biggest cities and smaller towns, ensuring we improve both long-distance and vital local services and enabling people to move more freely across the country wherever they are.” Warrington South MP Andy Carter said the announcement of the new Warrington to Manchester line was ‘really reassuring’. He added: “I’ve consistently called for better links to Manchester and Liverpool because constituents have told me they want the Government to prioritise this.
The Government have taken note and we’re getting the infrastructure our town needs. “A new high-speed line between Warrington, Manchester and a plan to use the Fiddlers Ferry Line to Liverpool will release capacity on the existing network for commuter trains and freight and will allow a new station hub to be created at Warrington Bank Quay, using the lower level lines through Arpley sidings. “This plan will have real benefits for Warrington town centre, the link between Northern Powerhouse Rail and the West Coast Mainline will make the town an attractive place to locate and I want to see the benefits of this GBP96bn package realised as soon as possible, people cannot wait forever to see material differences.”
Meanwhile, the Crewe to Manchester leg will see new stations created at Manchester Airport and Piccadilly.
Crewe train station (Image: Reach PLC)
The Government is hoping HS2 will cut journey times from Crewe to Manchester Airport to 15 minutes, from Crewe to Manchester Piccadilly to 24 mins and to Birmingham halved to 25 minutes. Crewe and Nantwich MP Kieran Mullan said: “I was elected on a pledge to level up and create better transport connections for communities in Crewe & Nantwich. “HS2 is already creating jobs and investment locally and this further vote of confidence means business and investors can be confident that we are getting HS2 all the way through to Manchester.
This will make it even easier for my constituents to access jobs and opportunities without having to leave our area and importantly it will also free up capacity on existing lines and routes so we get more frequent and more reliable services across the patch.” “This plan delivers the single biggest investment in the history of our rail network – GBP96 billion for the North and Midlands – which will improve everyday journeys for rail passengers, bring communities across the North West closer together, and create jobs – all ten to fifteen years sooner than previously planned.” “I will be looking at how we ensure services between Nantwich and Crewe are supercharged to make sure we can make the most of the extra connectivity for residents in both Crewe & Nantwich.
I know locally we also still need to see a huge improvement in bus services as well and we are going to see the results of the billions of extra going into buses next year. I just have to ask people to be patient for now.” But the Government has come in for heavy criticism after HS2’s eastern leg was scrapped as well as the promised high-speed rail line between Manchester and Leeds.
Cheshire West and Chester Council’s leader Cllr Louise Gittins, speaking as Transport for the North’s Interim Chair, described the announcement as ‘woefully inadequate’.
Cllr Louise Gittins, Transport for the North’s Interim Chair (Image: TfN)
She said: “After decades of underfunding, the rail network in the North is not fit for purpose. It is largely twin-track Victorian infrastructure trying to cope with the demands of a 21st Century economy. “Leaders from across the North and from across the party political divide came together to ask for a network that would upgrade the North for this century and in line with the rest of the country.
Our statutory advice asked for an over GBP40 billion network but the Government has decided to provide even less than half of that. “The leaders of the North, jointly with Government, have worked hard to come up with an evidence-led plan to help reverse the chasm of under investment over the last four decades to give passengers in the North a railway network fit for today and for generations to come. “That doesn’t mean a bit here and a bit there of minor upgrades to the existing network.
It means transformational change for the whole rail network. That means building HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail in full. That means good east-west connections, improved reliability and a better customer experience to bring about modal shift to meet our decarbonisation strategy.
“Whilst we have been working on our upgrade plans we have watched as billions have been poured into HS2 building work from London to Birmingham. We have watched as billions have been poured into Crossrail being dug out and built across the capital. It is time for the North to have its fair share.
It’s time for the North to have a proper railway network to allow our towns and cities, our businesses, and our people to thrive and grow for generations to come. It’s time for real evidence of levelling up. “If we truly want to level up the country we don’t need words and promises.
We need commitment. We need investment. We need Government to make good its pledge to the North and to deliver funding so we can deliver value back into UK PLC.
“We will be studying today’s Integrated Rail Plan announcement closely and will consult with our TfN Board before giving our considered response.”
- ^ Warrington (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
- ^ Crewe (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
- ^ here. (www.cheshire-live.co.uk)
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