Plan to boost Manchester airport rail connectivity outlined

Government plans to boost northern rail links include improved connectivity to Manchester airport.

The scheme would see direct services to the airport from Liverpool and Warrington together with towns in the east of the Pennies. 

The Department for Transport said: “Passengers travelling there from Liverpool could see their journeys to the airport slashed by almost an hour while passengers from Leeds could benefit from a 41-minute reduction.”

The proposal would also see journey times between Liverpool and Manchester Piccadilly cut by a third from around 50 minutes to 35 minutes.

Capacity could also be trebled between Liverpool and Leeds, offering 2,100 extra seats an hour in each direction.

The announcement follows strong support to retain a station at Manchester airport, “improving its connectivity for the millions of passengers who travel into and out of the airport each year,” the DoT added.

The next steps of development for Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) between Manchester and Liverpool follow “extensive engagement” with local leaders and MPs by ministers.

It follows the government’s Network North plan last autumn confirmed £12 billion to boost connections and enable Northern Powerhouse Rail to be delivered with funds re-directed from the abandoned northern leg of the high-speed HS2 line.

The latest development comes a week after an economic report outlined  how 50 new long-haul routes could be created if Manchester airport became the centre of a regional high-speed rail network.

Transport secretary Mark Harper said yesterday (Monday): “We are setting out the next steps for how we can transform east-west rail links in the north, helping to boost economic growth between key Northern cities as part of our Network North plan.

“I thank local leaders and local MPs for sharing their views and facilitating constructive conversations. 

“I have heard a clear consensus, which means we can now take another crucial step towards delivering Northern Powerhouse Rail, part of this government’s plan to boost rail capacity, deliver faster journey times and offer better connectivity across the north.”

Manchester Airport Group (MAG) chief executive Ken O’Toole said: “This is an important step forward on the journey towards unlocking the full potential of the northern economy.

“Better connecting the towns and cities of the north with each other, and with the world, through Manchester airport rightly sits at the heart of plans to deliver transformational growth across the region.

“Delivering Northern Powerhouse Rail will help maximise the contribution Manchester airport makes to rebalancing the UK, helping attract up to 50 new long-haul routes and increasing its annual economic impact to £16.2 billion by 2050.

“We look forward to working with government and regional partners to drive this vision forward.”

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