Greater Manchester prospectus outlines planned rail improvements

Posted: 27 September 2019 |

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has published a plan to double the number of rail journeys in the city-region by 2040.

Greater Manchester prospectus outlines planned rail improvements

Following the UK Prime Minister’s announcement to give areas like Greater Manchester more control over rail services and stations, Transport for Greater Manchester and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) have developed a rail prospectus setting out plans to transform all rail services and rebuild passenger trust in trains.

Our Prospectus for Rail is part of Greater Manchester’s 10-year plan to create an integrated, simple and convenient public transport system with simple fares and ticketing systems, and an improved customer experience across all types of transport.

The prospectus outlines a step-change in the role of rail to support the region’s planned growth, including the need to double rail passenger numbers to 200,000 in the regional centre by 2040, increase rail journeys to Manchester Airport by 100 per cent and move towards a minimum standard of four trains per hour service from stations.

It also includes plans to further expand and enhance the Metrolink, including 27 new units, with an aspiration for local rail services to meet the same standards.

TfGM figures show that locally accountable rail services such as Metrolink deliver more reliable and frequent services compared to nationally run rail franchises. Less than 1 per cent of Metrolink services are cancelled and over 90 per cent of services arrive on time – this is compared to less than 60 per cent of Northern’s services running ‘On Time’.

Three quarters of public transport journeys in Greater Manchester are undertaken by bus and the GMCA has announced it will consider the next steps towards reforming the bus network, which could lead to it becoming the first city-region in the UK to use new powers available under the Bus Services Act 2017.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “We need a fully integrated transport network that allows people to travel seamlessly between modes with simple, affordable ticketing – and the Prospectus for Rail underpins the transformational change we need on the local rail network to support growth. This is one of two major milestones in the Our Network journey during the next couple of weeks, which will also see GMCA reach the next stage of the process of reforming the bus market.

“The success of Metrolink shows that you can deliver high-quality rail services when those who design and deliver them are close and accountable to the customers they serve.

“We are pleased with the Prime Minister’s recent commitment – but we need the funding and powers to make them a reality. That is why Our Prospectus for Rail outlines our plans for GM Rail with more local control and accountability.

“Rather than operating in isolation, rail should help us to make sure that people who live, work and visit Greater Manchester benefit from world-class connections. This will allow our city-region to continue contributing to the growth of the Northern Powerhouse and in the critical role of rebalancing our national economy.

“If we want to deliver economic growth, improve productivity and increase prosperity in the North we need to transform city-to-city links through the delivery of both HS2 and NPR.

“We also need high-capacity, high-frequency metro-style rail services like those in successful cities around the world.”