An even greater Manchester? The North’s Top 5 Transport Improvements you should know about!


Greater Manchester and the Northern Powerhouse are constantly growing in size, people and business. To continuously support that growth, they need a transport mega-system. And they’re about to get one.

Urban and regional growth only works in the long-term if it’s supported by public transport and transport links that grow with it.

Currently, Greater Manchester and the Northern Powerhouse region are seeing a significant amount of investment going straight into that sector, supporting the area’s pledge to become one of Britain’s most desirable places to live.

So here’s an overview of what’s actually happening in and around Manchester and how the different parts of the region are shaping a strong connection.

1. Trams

Manchester’s tram network has seen major expansion over the last couple of years, starting in 2011. And it still does. These improvements have mainly been made possible through the £1.5bn investment granted by the Greater Manchester Transport Fund (GMTF).

The GMFT selects those transport projects that provide the most significant social and economical improvement for the region and then it gets to work.

And the improvements made to the network appear to have been very successful as the comparison below shows. The metrolink’s reach, diversity and density has improved drastically over the last six years.

2. Ordsall Chord

Another major improvement that is happening in Manchester’s city centre is Ordsall Chord, a viaduct created to connect Manchester’s three main stations: Victoria, Oxford Road and Piccadilly.

The ambitious project includes restoring Grade I-listed structures and removing disused arches and it is expected to finish construction by December 2017.

The project’s benefits are plenty, including new direct links to Manchester Airport from the North of England, more capacity on the railway and therefore more frequent trains and the city’s three main stations will be linked which will improve connectivity for anyone travelling through the city.

In addition to all of this, Ordsall Chord will also boost the local and wider economy and help to create more jobs. The project is supported by the Northern Hub, another great transport initiative happening in the North.

3. Northern Hub

The goal of the Northern Hub is to stimulate growth across England’s North through better connections with hundreds more trains running every day and providing space for up to 13 million more passengers every year.

The improvements will run from Newcastle and Hull in the East to Liverpool and Chester in the West. The Northern Hub is part of the Northern Programmes which are expected to be finalised by 2022 with a total investment input of more than £1bn.

The benefits coming from this extension are plenty:

  • Over £4bn worth of wider economic benefits to the region
  • Potentially 20,000 to 30,000 jobs
  • Two new fast trains per hour between Manchester Victoria and Liverpool
  • More frequent services between Manchester and Leeds (six per hour)
  • Faster passenger services across the TransPennine route – improving journey times of up to 15 minutes between Manchester Victoria to York via Leeds
  • Journey times between Liverpool and Manchester could be reduced by 10-15 minutes
  • New direct services from across the north to Manchester Airport

4. HS2

It has now been confirmed that the HS2 will connect Crewe and Manchester as part of its second phase.

During its second phase, HS2 will also link the West Midlands and Leeds as well as adding another stop at Manchester Airport. Manchester’s new HS2 station will be built right next to one of the city’s main train stations, Piccadilly.

The first part of the second phase, Phase 2a (from the West Midlands to Crewe), will open in 2027 and the second part, Phase 2b (from Crewe to Manchester as well as Leeds, South Yorkshire and the East Midlands), will follow in 2033.

The full route is a game changer for all of Britain and how the country is connected.

5. City-to-City Links

Manchester isn’t all there is in the plans of the Northern Powerhouse to improve the region. With better city-to-city links initiators are hoping to improve commuting times and create an area that’s growing into one organically.

Transport for the North has set out to improve the links between the North’s top six cities: Newcastle, Hull, Sheffield, Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds. And it asked the Government to support it with its ambitious endeavour in the form of £15-20bn for a 15-year investment plan.

Transport of the North has estimated that shaving 20 minutes off the travel time between Manchester and Leeds (which is one of their goals) would be worth £6.7bn to the North’s economy.

All in all, Manchester, the Northern Powerhouse and England’s North have a lot of hard work ahead of themselves. At the end of it, however, there’s a brilliantly connected, flourishing region waiting for those who are looking for plenty of business opportunities and an improved standard of living.

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An even greater Manchester? The North’s Top 5 Transport Improvements you should know about!

An even greater Manchester? The North’s Top 5 Transport Improvements you should know about!


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