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The upgrades will improve connections for businesses at Airport City.

The upgrades will improve connections for businesses at Airport City.

£600m Northern Hub rail upgrades get underway

Posted: 7th February 2017

Chancellor George Osborne has launched the start of the Northern Hub rail upgrades, a £600m rail investment programme.

The Northern Hub is one of the government's top priorities as set out in the National Infrastructure Plan, and part of its signigficant investment in the railways.

It is set to create up to 20,000 jobs and boost the northern economy by billions of pounds – Network Rail estimates the wider economic benefit to the region will be worth £4bn.

Highlights of the Northern Hub works include:

The improvements will transform the rail network in the North of England by electrifying existing lines as well as providing major upgrades to the network in and around Manchester. When completed in 2019 the upgrades will allow up to 700 more trains to run each day, providing space for 44 million passengers to the area a year.

Works will commence with a £20m investment to improve the rail link and station at Manchester Airport. 

Osborne said: “The government's long term plan is about securing a recovery for all parts of the country. Because of the tough decisions we've taken on day-to-day spending, we're able to invest in key infrastructure projects like the Northern Hub, which will create billions for the region.

"Each part of this project, like the first work at Manchester Airport station that I've kicked off today, will help us build the infrastructure we need to compete in the global race.

"This investment will ensure growth is not concentrated in any one place by keeping Britain connected and creating thousands of local jobs, delivering a brighter economic future for the whole country."

Manchester is the third biggest airport in the UK after Heathrow and Gatwick, and saw 20 million passengers travel through it last year. The investment will enable better connections for businesses and travellers to the Airport City Enterprise Zone and encourage even more growth in the area.

Martin Frobisher, area director for Network Rail, said: "The Northern Hub and electrification programme is the biggest investment in the railway in the north of England for a generation and will transform rail travel for millions of passengers every year.

"Providing a faster, more regular and reliable railway between key towns and cities in the north of England provides significant benefits to passengers and helps to boost the economy, making it quicker and easier to travel further for work or pleasure."

Andrew Cowan, chief operating officer for Manchester Airports Group (MAG), owners of Manchester Airport, said: “We welcome the fourth platform at the airport station. It will further open up the airport for our catchment area across northern England. 

"Furthermore it will provide direct access for businesses and employees to our £800m Airport City development, which is transforming the area around the station into an international business hub."

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