The government yesterday attempted to assuage regional concerns about transport investment, only days after appearing to press the button on London’s Crossrail, by promising to examine how to increase capacity at the north of England’s biggest rail bottleneck. Financial Times

Transport minister Rosie Winterton said relieving rail congestion in Manchester was a priority ‘to help unlock more of the region’s economic power’.

Northern development agencies have said the so-called Manchester Hub is the most important rail investment needed in the region.

’This is something the chamber has campaigned long and hard for,’ Angie Robinson, chief executive of Greater Manchester Chamber, said. ’Our region has recently benefited from significant improvements in northsouth rail links, but eastwest connections have continued to be neglected. As a result Manchester stations, and in particular Piccadilly, have become severe bottlenecks.’