TRANSPORT for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is proposing to take over the ownership and operation of 94 stations in the Manchester city region.
The £400million plan would see TfGM remove responsibility for small and medium stations in the region from train operators by 2020 and turn them into ‘community hubs’.
Funding for improvements would come from selling surplus land around the stations for housing and commercial development and greater investment from regional authorities.
TfGM has also expressed a desire to take control of Manchester’s three city centre stations – Victoria, Oxford Road and Piccadilly – the latter operated by Network Rail.
The plan has been submitted to the DfT and could be the biggest change to operations in the region since railway privatisation in 1994-97.
Local leaders have criticised the quality of railway stations in the area, saying that the present franchising structure does not allow for ‘long-term customer focus’, while stations and their facilities ‘have not evolved in line with customer expectations’.
Stations, reborn as community hubs, could include art galleries, performing arts, festivals and local weekend markets, plus space for offices.
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