Whitehall confirms £12bn Liverpool-Manchester rail link

Government publishes preferred route for proposed £12bn rail link between Liverpool and Manchester cutting journey times to 35 minutes. Tony McDonough reports

Lime Street station
Passengers could get from Liverpool to Manchester in 35 minutes. Picture by Tony McDonough


People will be able to get from Liverpool to Manchester by rail in just 35 minutes as part of the next stage of development of Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR).

On Monday the Government published its preferred route for the proposed £12bn rail link between the two cities. They confirmed it will go through Warrington Bank Quay and Manchester Airport.

Currently it takes 50 minutes or more to travel from Liverpool Lime Street to Manchester Piccadilly but the NPR plans would see the journey time slashed to just 35 minutes. Frequency will be 10-15 minutes.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “Today 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.”

As part of the Government’s engagement with local leaders and local MPs, they asked for further options to be explored around the station design at Manchester Piccadilly and the approach into Liverpool.

An NPR station in Warrington could also support local regeneration ambitions, providing a vital transport interchange in its town centre and making it easily accessible by boosting its links to neighbouring cities.

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A further £35mhas also been released allowing Network Rail to take forward early design and engineering work to unlock the next phase of Northern Powerhouse Rail between Liverpool and Leeds.

This funding will allow vital projects, such as the new station in Bradford, to be progressed at pace.


Manchester Airport
New link will make it easier to get to Manchester Airport. Picture by Hufton + Crow


Henri Murison, chief executive of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, added: “This is a major step forward for the Northern Powerhouse’s flagship infrastructure project.

“It will allow important legislative work on the tunnel link into Manchester to continue, ultimately giving people in Leeds and Bradford access to the North’s long-haul hub at Manchester Airport and improving connectivity between Liverpool, Hull and the North East.

“Northern Powerhouse Rail is the single most critical part of the proposed Network North package, much of which is still to be costed, and it should be the first call on Government infrastructure borrowing.”

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