TRAIN customers are being urged to check their train times and station stops ahead of Britain’s biggest train timetable change for decades.
Train operators TransPennine Express and Northern, together with Network Rail and Great North Rail Project partners, are urging customers to check before travelling and to plan their journeys before a major timetable change on May 20.
As part of the new timetable, departure times and the Manchester stations where some services travel to and from across the Pennines will change.
Passengers are being asked to take note of the changes to the services and think about their onward journey whether on foot, by tram or on the bus.
Martin Frobisher, route managing director of Network Rail said: “The rail industry is working together as one team to deliver the Great North Rail Project transformation. Even now the Great North Rail Project is improving customers’ journeys with more benefits to come by 2020, and we are working hard to keep disruption to a minimum.
“Our upgrades continue apace at Liverpool Lime Street station and along the Manchester and Preston via Bolton line. Meanwhile our Blackpool-Preston line upgrade is set to finish this weekend. Once these important infrastructure upgrades are complete, the train companies in turn will be able to run new and improved rolling stock, transforming the experience for customers.”
Stephen Rhodes, Transport for Greater Manchester’s customer director, said: “Some rail timetables across Greater Manchester are set to change significantly. We have worked extremely closely with the train operators and Network Rail to ensure the best possible solution and I’m advising customers to be aware that the journeys they are used to making will change from May 20th.
“This may mean different times, different end destinations and even different types of train. We are supporting with customer information and onward travel options, particularly across Manchester city centre and I would urge everyone to check the details of their future journey.”
Jacqueline Starr, managing director of Customer Experience for the Rail Delivery Group, which brings together train companies and Network Rail to enable a better railway, said: “Working together in partnership, train operators and Network Rail are delivering record investment in rail which means there will be new trains, better services and improved stations that will support economic growth and boost communities across the north of England, now and for the long term.
“Whether you are a commuter or travel for leisure, we’re asking customers to check before you travel as there will be new and changed services from 20 May. Customers can check their journey now by visiting nationalrail.co.uk or speaking to their train operator.”
Major upgrade work will continue in 2018 as the rail industry continues to deliver the Great North Rail Project - an industry-wide team effort to transform rail travel for customers across the North by 2020 through better trains, services, stations and tracks. As we deliver these unprecedented improvements we will do all we can to minimise disruption, by working when the fewest people travel such as overnight or during the summer.
This includes temporary changes to train services between June 2 and 29 July while Liverpool Lime St is upgraded to enable faster, more frequent and more reliable train services in and out of Merseyside’s key transport hub.
By 2020, Northern and TransPennine Express will have delivered thousands more services a week using brand new and refurbished trains right across their networks. All the Pacer trains will be gone.
The Ordsall Chord, which has linked Manchester’s three main stations for the first time, will be supporting many more direct services to Manchester Airport from across the region. This means that for some customers across the Pennines, Manchester Victoria will be the first or last stop instead of Manchester Piccadilly.
Liverpool Lime Street and other key stations, as well as tracks across Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire will also be transformed, enabling faster and more frequent services right across the North of England.
In addition, as part of the Great North Rail Project, work is under way to support the Transpennine Route Upgrade between Manchester and York.
The new and changed train services in the timetable follow record investment in the railway, including new lines between Manchester and Liverpool, cutting journey times by 15 minutes, and the completion of the Ordsall Chord, which links Manchester’s three main stations for the first time and will see more services to Manchester Airport.