200 years after the first railway, we may be on the verge of a railway revolution

Two hundred years and two days after the original formation of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company, there are hopes that the two cities could be on the verge of another rail revolution.

They are hopes shared by Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, his Liverpool City Council counterpart Steve Rotherham – plus Bev Craig and Liam Robinson, the leaders of both cities’ councils. This is because they are members of the new Liverpool-Manchester Rail Board, which is tasked with delivering a new line between the North West’s biggest conurbations.

“This is North West history being made today,” Andy Burnham announced on Wednesday (May 22) at the UK Property, Investment and Infrastructure Forum in Leeds. “20 May 1824 On this day the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company was established. Here we are 200 years and two days later. Before you are the first members of the new Liverpool-Manchester Railway Board.’

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The press conference at UKREiiF where Andy Burnham et al announced the creation of the board(Image: UKREiiF)

If this goes ahead then passengers will be able to travel between Liverpool city center and Manchester city center in just 35 minutes. They will get off at a refurbished Liverpool Central station or a new Manchester Piccadilly tube station.

There will be just four stops on the line – the other two being Warrington Bank Quay and Manchester Airport – as the board also envisages splitting city-stopping services, freight trains and fast inter-city routes onto different tracks. In total, the project will cost at least £17 billion, it is estimated.

And despite the hefty sum, there was a shared sense of faith among the four politicians at the board’s announcement that this time the project would not hit the buffers.

This is due to some moves made in Parliament last night, said Andy Burnham. First, the HS2 Crewe to Manchester Bill was officially amended to become the Northern Powerhouse Rail Manchester to Liverpool Bill.

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