22 February 2010

Manchester's Crossrail

One of the reasons why us Northerners get a little cross with the way we're treated by the media was shown perfectly last week. You will be forgiven, if you live south of that imaginary Bristol Channel - The Wash line, for not being made aware of a £500 million scheme, put forward by Network Rail, to rejuvenate Manchester's fortunes through a massive upgrade of its rail network.

Yes, it was reported, but not quite so vigorously as had it been in Brighton or Reading. There was decent coverage within the North, but far less so in the South. You could argue that a redeveloped Manchester Victoria station has absolutely nothing to do with people living in the Home Counties, and you'd be right. But then Crossrail has limited effect on those hard-done-to Leeds and Manchester commuters. Balance is all I ask.

So far-reaching is the effect of half-a-billion pounds being splashed on Manchester that it was covered in detail within the LEYTR area, thanks to BBC Look North's East Yorkshire & Lincolnshire regional news programme. We could see Transpennine Express' services to/from Hull increase in number and see slashed journey times.

The scheme's headlines are below:
  • Reduce journey times by an average of 12-15 minutes to places such as Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool and Chester
  • Ensure any redevelopment is done with High Speed 2 in mind
  • New western bay platforms to be built at Manchester Piccadilly (15/16)
  • A new Ordsall Chord built enabling direct Salford-Deansgate journeys
  • Increasing the number of tracks between Broad Green-Huyton and Marsden-Diggle
  • Grindleford & Chinley station to receive passing loops
  • Re-doubling Dore Junction
  • Re-open the disused bores at Standedge Tunnel
  • Additional platform at Manchester Airport and Rochdale.
  • Increase line speeds at Marple
  • Increase line speeds along the Chat Moss route in readiness for electrification
The benefit:cost ration has been calculated at 4.0, which sits comfortably in the DfT's classification of a cost-effective scheme. Total investment totals £578.2 million and operating cost has been calculated at £849.9 million. Once revenues have been subtracted (£491.5m) the true cost is identified: £936.7 million.

Total benefits have been calculated at £3,733.9 million, comprising rail users' benefits (£1,601.5m), non-users' benefits (£473.8m), crowding benefits (£1,018.5) and wider economic benefits (£766.2m). A net preset value of £2,797.3 million has accordingly been reached.

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