Hourly Manchester Airport direct rail link looks set to go on South Humber Bank

The South Humber Bank looks set to lose its hourly rail connection to Manchester Airport – but gain a direct route to Liverpool.

The new proposals to ease bottlenecks in the North West have been published following consultation.

Changes look set to come into force in December next year, with solitary direct links to the UK’s second airport at the beginning and end of the day.

Read more:Meet the new managing director of Hull Trains as he starts on a high with final fleet delivery

A final consultation will take place this autumn.

Rail congestion has been a huge headache for Manchester, and the new plan will see the TransPennine service go through to Merseyside – with those looking to use the airport changing at the city’s Piccadilly Station.

When mooted in February, it was met with little opposition from key organisations, with Marketing Humber, Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce and Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership all declining to comment.

North East Lincolnshire Council – the local authority at the end of the line, also welcomed the potential a link with Liverpool could bring.

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Liverpool, Chester and North Wales retains direct links with the airport. Trains every 10 minutes are highlighted for eastern passengers forced to change at Piccadilly – with Cleethorpes, Grimsby, Scunthorpe, Doncaster and Sheffield all on the line.

Chris Heaton-Harris, Rail Minister, said: “This new timetable has been built around the voices of Manchester that helped design it, focused on cutting delays on Manchester’s railways and boosting punctuality.

“Our Plan for Rail sets out our commitment to putting passengers first when it comes to our rail network. The work we are doing to fix Manchester’s railways, which were bursting at the seams pre-pandemic, is all part of us building back better from Covid-19.”

The timetable is designed to reduce service delays by 25 per cent, improving punctuality and journey times for local passengers.

Hourly Manchester Airport direct rail link looks set to go on South Humber Bank
The departure board at Manchester Piccadilly Station.

It has been jointly produced by the cross-industry Manchester Recovery Task Force, comprising the Department for Transport, Transport for the North, Transport for Greater Manchester, Network Rail and the train operators Northern and TransPennine Express.

Liam Robinson, chair of the Rail North Committee, representing northern leaders on the Task Force, said: “This part of the network is the buckle in the belt of the North’s rail network. It has to be able to do its job. The interim service solution in this Consultation is, inevitably a compromise, but it allows us the chance to run more reliable services until the Task Force can deliver on infrastructure solutions to enable the network to run as it needs to.

“What’s important, is that we now have a commitment from government, and the rail industry, to develop and deliver a Railmap which will enable us to build back services in a smarter and more intelligent way and provide an exit strategy from the temporary timetable we need in the interim.”

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