FRECCLES - Friends of Eccles Station

Extracts for FRECCLES from:

"Draft for consultation of the Route Utilisation Strategy covering the railway in the north west of England."


The strategy has been produced in a highly consultative and inclusive way, involving train and freight operators, passenger representatives, local authorities and others. As such, it can be viewed not just as a product of Network Rail, but of the entire rail industry. The railway in the North West is a successful one, and many routes are busy. Punctuality of train services from the major train operators is high and improving; and passenger numbers are increasing as a result. This strategy looks at where this growth in passenger demand may require increases in capacity.

... The strategy also considers interchange between the railway and the Manchester Metrolink tram system. Presently, good interchange only exists at Piccadilly and Victoria stations. Further opportunities to create interchanges at Eccles, Cornbrook and Altrincham are explored.

This draft strategy is now open to consultation from all interested parties, with comments required by 5 January 2007. We look forward to receiving this feedback, and would hope to be able to publish a final Route Utilisation Strategy for the North West in early spring 2007.

John Armitt
Chief Executive, Network Rail


In recent years, the employment centre of Manchester has become increasingly dispersed, with the majority of new jobs created based nearer Victoria and Salford than around Piccadilly. This means that Piccadilly’s role as the principal terminus station for commuters is diminishing while the significance of Victoria, Salford Central and Salford Crescent is growing.

Analysis of the railway’s current ability to carry passengers and freight, and its ability to cope with predicted demand over the next 10 years, identified the following generic gaps:

The options have undergone an initial appraisal. More detailed analysis will be required on a number of the options before they are recommended as part of the final strategy. Initial analysis suggests that large scale infrastructure interventions cannot be justified, due to the majority of the signalling being fit for purpose beyond the end of the RUS period. However, there may be an opportunity towards the end of the 10-year period for electrification, initiated by the replacement of rolling stock in Merseyside.

... This even spread around the five central stations suggests that efficient distribution of passengers throughout the city centre would be facilitated if each of the five central stations were conveniently accessible from any of the corridors. The benefits of this would be dependent on the time penalties incurred (e.g. from interchange), compared with the alternative of having to walk or catch a bus or tram. Railway topology means this is not possible in all cases, but current services also limit this objective.


3.5.9 Integration with other public transport modes

There are a number of locations where the railway intersects or runs close to other modes of public transport. In the Manchester area, interchange with the Metrolink system is especially important, as this fixed-network gives easy access to multiple destinations in and around the city centre. There are six locations where Metrolink interacts most closely with the rail network: Piccadilly; Victoria; Altrincham; Deansgate; Eccles and Cornbrook.

At Piccadilly, Victoria and Altrincham, the interface with Metrolink is already exploited to allow passengers to interchange. However, at the other three locations, interchange opportunities are currently limited. At Deansgate although the train and Metrolink are situated in close proximity, there are currently only a limited number of rail services that stop due to timetable limitations along the Castlefield corridor.

At Eccles, the train station and the Metrolink stop are only 300m apart with bus connections to Trafford Park and the Trafford Centre also nearby. However, there are few interchange opportunities due to limited signage between the two and the fact that there is only one train per hour in each direction that stops at Eccles.

3.8.8 Chat Moss: Capability, capacity, and performance

Capacity on this corridor linking Liverpool and Manchester is limited by the absolute block section between Rainhill and Huyton and the throat and platforms at Lime Street. These constraints also affect the ability to recover from perturbation. The prevailing linespeed is lower than the capability of many of the units. However, a higher linespeed with the current timetable would only have the effect of causing the fast trains to catch up with the slower ones sooner, and the lack of loops (apart from one at Earlestown) prevents overtaking. The effect is that generalised journey times from Liverpool to Manchester are not as competitive with the car as they could be. Additionally, trains to and from Liverpool cannot stop at Salford Central due to the lack of platforms on the Liverpool lines, further increasing journey times for those with an ultimate destination near Salford Central.


6.3.9 Chat Moss corridor

Option 1: Liverpool – Manchester
More trains

Increase from one to two fast trains per hour between Lime Street and Piccadilly via Chat Moss line. Divert ATW Llandudno/Chester

Recommendation: Develop further; appears likely to meet appraisal criteria. Alternative to Chat Moss corridor option 2.

Option 2: TransPennine trains on Chat Moss line
More trains

As option 1, but in addition move long-distance TransPennine trains (two trains per hour) between Lime Street and Piccadilly from Cheshire Lines Committee(CLC) line [via Irlam] to Chat Moss line. Move fast Chat Moss services to CLC. A sub-option considers a second Chester – Manchester train each hour via Chat Moss Line and redirects Lime Street

Recommendation: Develop further. Alternative to Chat Moss corridor option 1.

Option 3: Chat Moss line speed
Faster trains

Higher speed between Huyton and Patricroft.

Recommendation: Develop further. Scale of benefits is dependent on Chat Moss corridor option 1 or 2.

Option 5: Salford Central
Additional platforms

New platforms on Chat Moss lines.

Recommendation: Develop further; appears likely to meet appraisal criteria. Scale of benefits is dependent on Chat Moss corridor option 1 or 2; this may be critical to case.

Option 6: Develop Newton-le-Willows as an interchange

Improve station facilities and car parking. Recommendation: Develop further.

Option 7: Eccles interchange with Metrolink

Gaps addressed: Integration with Metrolink.

Description: More trains calling at Eccles and improvements to interchange with Metrolink. Recommendation: Develop further; appears likely to meet appraisal criteria.

Option 11: Extra Chat Moss peak train

Option 12: Longer Chat Moss peak trains

Stakeholder Consultation

7.2 How you can contribute

We welcome contributions to assist us in developing this RUS.
Specific consultation questions have not been set as we would appreciate comments on the content of the document as a whole. Particular reference should, however, be made in responses to the options that have been developed as solutions for the identified gaps.

7.3 Response date

This RUS will have a formal consultation period of eight weeks. The deadline for receiving responses is therefore 5 January 2007

Consultation responses can be submitted either electronically or by post to the addresses below:

North West RUS Consultation Response
National RUS Consultation Manager
Network Rail
8th Floor
40 Melton Street