To consider the update on the development of infrastructure across the rail network in the North, and with it associated train service enhancements and changes.
Lead: Charlie French
6.1 Members received the report from the Investment Planning Manager who highlighted the key points.
6.2 The Head of Strategic Rail informed the Committee that an amendment to the report had been proposed by Warrington. He explained that whilst they recognise the work in Manchester they have suffered a reduction in connectivity and service opportunity and have suggested that the second recommendation should ‘note’ the successful delivery of Manchester and North West Transformation Programme Configuration State 1 infrastructure and implementation of the December 2022 timetable change rather than ‘welcome’ it. The Committee agreed this amendment.
6.3 The Rail and Road Director informed the Committee that this is a draft document and as there is awareness of the strong views around aspects of the report he anticipates the need for strengthening of some aspects of the report. He also recognised the fact that things have changed since the publication of the report.
6.4 Mayor Coppard highlighted the challenges experienced in South Yorkshire which should begin to improve when the Leeds Area Study work begins.
6.5 Lord McLoughlin requested more background as to why what was suggested in the 2014 through the Transport & Works Act Order was now no longer appropriate.
In response the investment Planning Manager explained that the 2014 Order covered what was known as ‘Package C’ which covered remodelling of Manchester Oxford Road, work on the corridor and Platforms 15 and 16 Manchester Piccadilly. It did not however take into consideration the improvements required around the corridor and subsequent work has found that much of the Manchester congestion stems from the routes that feed the corridor and therefore a broader package of works is required. He explained that as a revised scheme for Oxford Road has now been developed the previous order needs to be removed to allow the new scheme to go ahead
6.6 The Chair expressed his frustration that almost a decade has passed since the first submission which is not good news for the residents of the North of England.
He went on to express concern at the reference to a new baseline timetable which he views as a ‘reductionist new reality’ where the work was intended to allow an expanded timetable. He sought reassurance that this would not dilute the ambition and a timeline for the work to be completed and a plan to be outlined. He stated Greater Manchester’s view on Platforms 15 and 16, reiterating the point that they are required.
6.7 Cllr Hinchcliffe welcomed the approach that taskforce has taken and the work that has been done, as work taking place in Manchester benefits the whole of the North. Mayor Rotheram stated that the benefits to the whole of the North need to be teased out more.
Cllr Hinchcliffe then raised the issue of connectivity to Manchester Airport and asked that this be within the scoping for Configuration State 3.
6.8 The Chair requested clarity on the position of Stockport as congested infrastructure.
The Investment Planning Manager explained that the concern with ... view the full minutes text for item 6