A MULTI-MILLION pound funding investment for the North’s rail improvements could be the key to unlocking the area's railway stations.

That is according to Leigh MP James Grundy who held talks with Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps at Manchester Piccadilly railway, where a major investment plan was unveiled.

As a part of the £589million investment in the North’s rail infrastructure, £10million will be spent on work to ease the Manchester "bottleneck".

Mr Grundy believes that as a result of these improvements, the busy Liverpool to Manchester line will become unblocked and will be able to accommodate increased services.

He regards this as a "key hurdle that could have previously prevented the plans to reopen Kenyon Junction from going ahead".

Another announcement made by the Transport Secretary’s visit to Manchester Piccadilly, was the creation a new body led by Grant Shapps as Northern Powerhouse Minister.

This will give Northern leaders a "direct line" to ministers in an effort to accelerate transport projects.

The transport council’s work will be supported by Department for Transport staff based in northern cities.

Mr Grundy said: “One of the key hurdles to the reopening of Kenyon Junction is capacity on the Manchester to Liverpool line, but I believe that the work to unblock the ‘Manchester Bottleneck’ starting this year, will help solve this problem."

Earlier this month the Journal reported how Mr Grundy submitted two new bids for the reopening of Kenyon Junction railway station and Golborne railway station to the £500m Restoring your Railway Fund.

If the bids are successful, funds will be awarded by the Department for Transport for further business and economic studies into the viability of the proposals.

Mr Grundy said: “It was also a pleasure to discuss my plans to get both Kenyon Junction and Golborne stations reopened with the Transport Minister on his visit to the North, and the creation of a new council which will provide even more opportunity for me to continue my fight to get Leigh reconnected to the national rail network.”

In a statement Transport Secretary and Northern Powerhouse Minister Grant Shapps said: “People across the North rightly expect action, progress and ambition, and this government is determined to accelerate improvements as we invest billions to level up the region’s infrastructure."

“We are determined to build back better at pace, and this new council will allow us to engage collectively and directly with elected northern leaders to build the vital projects the region is crying out for.”