UK rail operator Network Rail has announced a £530m ($832m) plan to upgrade the rail network in the north of England to allow for faster line speeds, more frequent services and better stations.
The plan, part of the Northern Hub study, includes a 40% increase in trains, totalling 700 extra services per day across the region and increasing the capacity for a further 3.5 million passengers per year.
Set out for the next ten years, the plan includes faster and more frequent services for Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield, as well as a major revamp of Manchester Victoria station.
Network Rail chief executive Iain Coucher said the vision includes miles of track, new platforms and electrification to keep driving up passenger demand while keeping freight on the rails – and lorries off the already congested roads.
"Through better connections, faster services and improved stations we want to trigger wider growth in the north, which in turn will support local jobs and businesses," Coucher said.
The operator expects the proposal to be carried out from 2014.