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Future travel - rail

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Rail use is growing faster in the north than many other parts of the country. Passenger journeys have increased by 30 per cent in the last ten years.

We want that growth to continue. We’re working hard to make sure Greater Manchester has the best possible rail services now and in the future.

Our ambition is for a quality rail network with the right capacity, reliability, speed and resilience to support the growth of the Northern economy.

We back the plans for HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail to provide fast links between Greater Manchester and the south – and to our neighbours in the north.


What are we doing?

Our expert team works with the rail industry and Government to provide evidence and help to secure funding for future infrastructure development.

That includes plans to improve city centre stations and infrastructure to allow more – and longer – trains to run, and improve service reliability.

We’re also working to deliver route improvements between the north’s key cities, and secure more investment in Greater Manchester’s rail stations.

We work in partnership with the Department for Transport (DfT) and Rail North to make sure future rail franchises offer more services and better customer facilities – on trains and stations.

We will continue to work with DfT, Network Rail, train operators and with other northern local authorities to secure our five strategic priorities for rail:

  • Deliver more capacity through improved infrastructure and trains.
  • Secure government commitment to the ‘Northern Hub’ to provide better connections between key town and cities.
  • Further electrification of the local and inter-regional rail network to reduce industry costs and improve services.
  • Work with HS2 on the design of the route to Manchester and major stations.
  • Deliver our long-term vision for local train station improvements.

Improving local rail stations

Greater Manchester has 97 rail stations, offering more than 70 direct connections to major cities and towns across the country.

At the moment local rail stations are managed by Network Rail and train operators.

Unfortunately, due to the short-term nature of rail franchises, many stations have suffered from a lack investment.

We want to get better value from our train stations by putting them at the heart of the community.

We think that the best way to achieve this is for Greater Manchester to own and manage rail stations on very long term leases. This would allow us to drive greater levels of investment.

Unfortunately, Government rejected Greater Manchester’s proposal for full station control in 2017.

However, we remain committed to improving the customer experience and the value of local rail stations to communities.

We continue to work in partnership with Network Rail and train operators to consider new ways of achieving our ambitions for local train stations.

That includes:

  • better customer facilities
  • improved links with buses and trams
  • better access to jobs and local facilities
  • greater focus on local investment and regeneration
  • more community involvement

We want to transform local stations into transport hubs that are well-used and offer a pleasant travel experience.

Our ultimate aim is for local stations to become thriving community hubs that improve quality of life for everyone.

Read more about the transformation of Irlam Station.