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Wednesday, 26 August 2009

New high speed rail link will serve Manchester

by Richard Critchley, Policy Manager for Transport

Network Rail have today announced that Manchester will be one of the cities connected to the proposed new High Speed Rail Link from London to Glasgow. This is excellent news for the future of rail travel in Greater Manchester and the North West.

Our local economy relies on strong connections and fast, reliable services to other cities and in particular London. Today’s announcement paves the way for a revolution in journey speeds bringing Greater Manchester closer to key markets, with predictions that productivity benefits alone could be worth tens of billions to the national economy.

A dedicated high-speed line would free up capacity on existing routes, enabling enhancements to commuter and freight services, whilst making Greater Manchester an even more attractive location in which to invest, visit and study. Today’s announcement will put our city on the map.

Our primary concern now is to ensure that the Government commits funding to enable this development to happen. With the current state of Government finances, it is unclear how any major infrastructure works will be delivered.

Update

Steven Broomhead, NWDA Chief Executive, comments:
“The growth of the Northwest economy relies on fast and reliable connections to London and other UK cities, so this report is a major step forward in realising this aim. It’s clear that without major investment, the outlook is for growing congestion on our rail network.

"We particularly welcome Network Rail’s prioritisation of a high speed link to the Northwest, which would cut journey times to and from the capital to their shortest ever. The challenge now will be to build a strong case for Government investment to ensure this project happens.”

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