Agenda item

Manchester Task Force Update

To consider the early indications of how the revised service pattern is performing.  To provide an update on the progress of infrastructure development.

Lead: Charlie French


6.1             Members received the report of the Investment Planning Manager who highlighted the key points within the report.


6.2             Mayor Burnham expressed concern about the bottleneck in Manchester City centre which is major concern for the whole of the North and has been flagged as a concern by the Greater Manchester Transport Commissioner and officers at Transport for Greater Manchester.


He explained that the improvements proposed to infrastructure in Manchester City centre are not keeping pace with the extra services that Transpennine Route Upgrade will feed into the city centre, so there are additional passenger and freight services that will come into the city as a result of the TransPennine Route Upgrade.


He stated that there is little confidence that the necessary work will be done to enable those services to be absorbed without displacing local services or causing major disruption. In order to illustrate his point he likened on the situation to  a new motorway ending in a car park.  Whilst supporting the Transpennine Route Upgrade, he stated it will only be of benefit if Manchester City Centre can safely and reliably accommodate the extra traffic that it will generate, but a plan has not been seen for this.


He stated that the plan has not been thought through and that it impacts on existing parts of the railway with the result that the big step forward does not arrive, but see massive disruption and which could lead to history repeating itself.


6.3             Mayor Coppard raised the issue of capacity and specifically the upgrade to the Hope Valley line stating that it will not deliver the improvements in service required for the people of South Yorkshire, particularly the third fast train to Manchester and the connectivity between Sheffield and Manchester Airport.  He highlighted the importance of the connections between Sheffield and Manchester and was concerned that these would not be resolved until late 2020s or early 2030s which is not  good enough.  Cllrs Hannigan and Hinchcliffe also raised the issue of lack of connectivity between their areas and Manchester.


Mr Golton stated that he has asked for a fresh look at how greater connectivity is restored to Manchester Airport and will reach out to Members.


6.4             The Head of Strategic Rail stated that an invitation to the next Committee will be issued to the industry to allow provison for an update on the current position with the Manchester task force proposals.   Network Rail is working on a piece of advice which is due to be completed in March. He hoped that this will provide clarity to the Committee and allow it to measure the position against the set objectives. He also suggested revisiting the advice made several years ago due to there now being more schemes in the pipeline and much more information about the schemes; now is a good time to refresh the long-term strategy for Manchester.


6.5             The Chair stated that the capacity at Manchester will be essential. He highlighted the excessive problems with Leeds station and is keen to avoid the same problems building up in Manchester.


1)   That the early positive indications from the implementation of the December 2022 timetable change, with recognition of the significant effort by all parties to enable its introduction be noted

2)   That the Committee notes that the Department for Transport has advised Ministers to move the Configuration State 2 infrastructure schemes into delivery

3)   That the progress with the development of infrastructure upgrades at Manchester Oxford Road and Manchester Airport in Configuration State 3 be noted.

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