Network Rail and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) have launched a new collaboration as part of delivering an integrated public transport system and developing key railway stations in Manchester and Salford.

The partnership agreement, the first of its type between the two groups, is a significant step forward in bringing together both service providers to build a more integrated Greater Manchester.

This deal forms an extension of the ‘Bee Network’, the proposed integrated transport network for Greater Manchester, which plans to deliver touch in touch out fares across its network by 2030.

Furthermore, TfGM has noted that the UK Government Trailblazer deal and this collaboration are both part of the future implementation of the Bee Network.

Working with key city-wide stakeholders, Network Rail and TfGM will create future regeneration potential at Greater Manchester stations and encourage partners to undertake future projects.

Transport Commissioner for Greater Manchester Vernon Everitt emphasised the new partnership would build on the projects already in development across Greater Manchester: “The ever-changing skylines across Salford and Manchester city centres reflect the extent to which Greater Manchester is growing.

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“As we deliver our Bee Network plans for a truly integrated network, it is vital our rail stations – and surrounding areas – evolve to meet these demands and this new partnership signifies our joint commitment alongside Manchester and Salford districts to delivering a modernised railway that puts passengers and local communities at its heart.”

Over the next year, the two groups will collaborate with local business interests and potential partners to develop concepts for six stations, including Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Victoria, Manchester Oxford Road, Deansgate, Salford Central and Salford Crescent.

Lord Hendy of Richmond Hill, chair of Network Rail added how both companies are putting passengers and the rail industry in greater importance: “This is a landmark moment for Manchester and Salford, to see our two organisations build a partnership team to make the best of our resources and expertise.

“Working jointly with the local authorities, we are putting passengers and rail services at the forefront of infrastructure investment and wider neighbourhood improvements.”