By Ben Simmons

Train passengers will benefit from quicker journeys after Chancellor George Osborne promised £130m investment in the heavily-congested rail network around Manchester.

The Chancellor confirmed in today’s Budget that Network Rail will extend the Northern Hub, adding to the electrification of the Transpennine rail route, by upgrading the Hope Valley line between Manchester and Sheffield – and improving the Manchester to Preston and Blackpool, and Manchester to Bradford lines.

By making rail travel across the north faster and more frequent, the Northern Hub is expected to boost the region’s economy by around £4.2bn and create up to 30,000 jobs.

“For years, transport investment in the north of England has been neglected so it is great for the region to see this kind of investment,” says Peter Chambers, head of public sector at PwC in the North West. “It is good to know that the Chancellor realises the importance of infrastructure improvements to the economy.”

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