Cheshire East Council is urging its residents to take part in a consultation on plans to improve rail services through central Manchester as part of Covid-19 recovery.
The consultation is focused on improving passenger rail performance and punctuality by exploring which schemes would best reduce ‘bottlenecks’ around the Castlefield corridor between Manchester’s Piccadilly and Victoria stations.
Proposals aim to increase the reliability of services by simplifying services and reducing the number of trains using Castlefield corridor. It follows extensive work between Department for Transport (DfT), rail industry and Transport for the North.
Passengers are being presented with three options in the consultation. These affect different routes and which routes would have direct services to Manchester Oxford Road and Piccadilly stations, and Manchester Airport. Each option has some significant impacts and Cheshire East rail users need to consider how their train travel could be affected.
The agreed option, due to be introduced in May 2022, would aim to ‘significantly improve overall reliability while maintaining the pre-Covid travel connections for the vast majority of passengers’, according to the DfT. However, some changes may mean making different choices for travel and impact timetables – including for Cheshire East residents.
Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council and cabinet member for strategic transport, said: “This is an important consultation for rail users in Cheshire East and beyond – and I would urge everyone to get involved and share their views and help shape future rail services between Cheshire East, Manchester and the wider region.
“The proposals aim to give passengers a more reliable service with less risk of knock-on delays. In the longer-term, infrastructure changes are being planned to enable more services to be added in a sustainable way. But it is important that Cheshire East residents and rail users are heard now, and that their interests are protected and services enhanced – not reduced.
“Congestion in the region before the pandemic created regular delays to services around Manchester and into Cheshire, with knock-on impacts on reliability across the north. I am pleased that the rail industry is using this opportunity – while the public is being urged to stay at home – to plan improvements for those who use services in and around Manchester, ready for when passengers return in much greater numbers.”
“I will be responding, on behalf of the council, to represent the needs of residents across the borough but would welcome residents also engaging in the consultation.”
To take part in the consultation, which runs until 10 March, or find out more, visit the government web site.