News Front

New through platforms at Piccadilly being assessed again

WORK TO assess capacity on the Castleield corridor through central Manchester will be completed by next summer, according to Network Rail Chief Executive Andrew Haines. The news comes despite Transport Secretary Chris Grayling telling Modern Railways a solution needed to be found ahead of the start of Control Period 6 in April.

Mr Haines irst announced the work in an appearance before the House of Commons Transport Committee on 10 September. Concern has been raised about the ability of the two-track corridor to handle the increased number of services using it, particularly following construction of the Ordsall chord. Original plans envisaged construction of an additional two tracks and pair of platforms at Piccadilly station, for which a Transport and Works Act Order application has been submitted.

In a letter to Committee Chair Lilian Greenwood, Mr Haines explained the application ‘remains live’ but that it would be ‘an expensive, complex and disruptive scheme that would take a long time to bring to fruition’.

The letter continues: ‘DfT has remitted Network Rail to undertake a piece of work to assess the long-term infrastructure capability across Greater Manchester. This will refresh the assumptions behind the application for additional platforms at Piccadilly and identify potential options for improving performance and capacity across the region. We are at the early stages of the review which I hope will conclude by next summer when our indings will be provided to the DfT.’

When questioned by Modern Railways on 15 October about whether he had set a deadline for a decision on solutions for the corridor, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling stated ‘We need to get it done this autumn, we’re heading into CP6 (Control Period 6) from next April, when things need to happen, and so we need to ind a solution in CP5.’

Mr Haines added in his letter that DfT has also remitted Network Rail ‘to look in detail at options around how digital Traic Management technology may contribute to enhancements on the Castleield Corridor’, with initial indings expected by February 2019.