Rail infrastructure in Manchester and the north of England will receive a notable boost thanks to a £72m government funding package announced by the UK rail minister. 

Huw Merriman made the announcement on 25 May at Manchester Victoria Station revealing that projects would include a third platform at Salford Crescent station and extra entry and exit points for Victoria. 

Merriman said: “This new investment will help make train services more reliable for the people of Manchester and beyond, marking another milestone in a decade’s worth of rail improvements across the region. 

“An efficient railway is key to levelling up and the improvements achieved through this package will help boost local economies and connect people to opportunities, as well as friends and family.” 

Alongside the work at the two stations, overall track improvements will also be taking place across north Manchester to help reduce delays and station overcrowding. 

The announcement follows the previous launch of a new timetable in December last year, which came with £84m worth of support from the government to aid its delivery and is part of transforming services through the cross-industry body known as the Manchester Task Force. 

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham described the investment as the next step to taking advantage of the “massive opportunity” to improve rail journeys for people across the north of England and Greater Manchester. 

Burnham said: “Through the task force and our trailblazer deal, we will continue working with government and the industry to help shape the comprehensive package of improvements needed to transform rail travel and support our growing economy so that we can create more jobs and homes.” 

The government’s announcement has meant that Network Rail has pulled a planning application for infrastructure works in Manchester with the task force being asked to consider other options to serve passengers. 

Network Rail also recently announced a five-year plan to improve the UK’s railway networks with a proposed spend of £44bn to cover sustainability, improving infrastructure and investing in next-generation technology such as digital signalling.