Parsons Brinckerhoff has been selected as lead engineering services provider for the Network Rail’s Northern Hub project that aims to better link northern UK towns and cities including Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.

Under the contract, Parsons will provide engineering consultancy services (ECS) to meet service capability demands set for 2016 and 2018.

The project aims to transform rail travel in the north of England by delivering a potential 40% increase in services for 44 million passengers a year and accommodating forecast rail growth through to 2030.

The programme will also introduce the capability for a new trans-Pennine service between Leeds and Manchester, provide new direct links to Manchester Airport through Manchester city centre and increase freight capacity across the region.

Parsons Brinckerhoff will provide specialist services to cover full multidisciplinary rail engineering to ‘approval in principle’ stage, which will include developments at Oxford Road and Piccadilly stations, as well as additional platform capacity at Manchester Airport, and the vital north-south link at Ordsall.

The Parsons’ work will also involve environmental studies and production of engineering outputs in support of planning submissions to secure the necessary Development Consent Orders though the IPC process.

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Plans for funding of the Northern Hub project have been submitted to the government by Network Rail, and a decision on this is expected by July 2012.