Plan for new Liverpool-Manchester rail line revealed

CGI image of Liverpool Central station
Liverpool Central railway station would be revamped under the scheme [LCRCA]

Plans for an extra line between Liverpool and Manchester have been announced by the cities' new combined railway organisation.

The Liverpool-Manchester Rail Board has revealed a project for a new link between the cities, which will also include major investment into several stations.

The new line will run between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Piccadilly, via revamped stations at Warrington Bank Quay and Manchester Airport.

An underground station at Manchester Piccadilly has also been planned, along with improvements to Liverpool Central.

Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram, the mayors of Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region, said the scheme would boost the economy of North-West England.

The pair, along with other local politicians, recently launched the railway board with the aim of improving connectivity between the two regions, which have had railway links since the first inter-city line was opened in 1830.

'Nationally important'

Mr Rotheram told the UK’s Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum in Leeds that the new project was a "nationally important infrastructure scheme".

He said it could cut the journey time between the two cities from more than an hour to 25 minutes.

He said unlike the scrapped HS2 link to Manchester, the scheme was "going to happen".

“It won’t be like HS2 and promise after promise and nothing delivered," he said.

“We’ve got the budget, we want to increase that but also we genuinely have the best interests of the cities of Liverpool and Manchester and Liverpool city region and Manchester city region at heart."

Andy Burnham
Mr Burnham said this was about the cities "setting our own ambition" [PA Media]

Mr Burnham said the mayors had been given confirmation that public funds of £17bn, which were due to be used for HS2, were still available to "deliver this new railway".

However, he added the funds were only a "starting point" and the board would also seek private investment.

"The economy gets bigger if you build the railway in the right way," he said.

"It’s going to be a really exciting project to work on and this is what true levelling up always should have been, isn’t it?

“This is us, doing it for ourselves, setting our own ambition, where hopefully UK government enables, so finally, after all the pain of the debate around railways, we’ve kind of ended up at the right station."

Chris Woodroofe, managing director of Manchester Airport and member of the rail board, said a new line would help more people "feel the benefit of a high-speed connection directly to a major international airport".

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