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Manchester Airport Group passenger numbers up

Passenger levels rose at all four airports operated by the Manchester Airports Group (Mag) last month.

MAG saw passenger numbers rise across its airports Credit: PA Images

Stansted numbers increased 11.6% to 2.03 million in August 2014 compared with August last year, while the number of passengers handled at Manchester airport rose 8.2% to 2.56 million.

East Midlands airport enjoyed a rise of 4.3% to 620,000, while Bournemouth was up 2.8% to 97,000.

Together, the four airports handled 8.9% more passengers last month than in August 2013. In the 12 months ending August 2014 the total for the four airports was 45.58 million - a 6.3% increase on the figure for the 12 months ending August 2013.

Crewe to London service is 'most overcrowded'

A train from Crewe to London Euston is the most overcrowded service in the country, according to the Department for Transport.

The Crewe to Euston service operates at 201% of its capacity Credit: Creative Commons

The London Midland service operates at 201% of its capacity. The company says it had operated at "the maximum allowed at that time for the combination of the train path and the rolling stock available".

It also said the service had operated at eight-car carriages since December 2013.

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Network Rail plans to expand Manchester stations

The plans would see tracks widened at Oxford Road station Credit: Network Rail

Plans to build two additional platforms at Piccadilly station in Manchester have been submitted by Network Rail. The company also wants to widen the existing viaduct through the city towards Oxford Road station.

The company says it's investing more than £1bn in the rail network in the north of England.

The company says the plans are part of the "Northern Hub project" and believe they will "deliver faster, more frequent services and stimulate economic growth as a result of improved connections between towns and cities."

It also says the plan to put two more platforms at Piccadilly will mean the number of trains travelling through Manchester will rise from 12 to 16-per-hour in both directions.

Two new platforms would be built at Manchester Piccadilly Credit: Network Rail

Ian Joslin, area director for Network Rail, said: “As part of investment totalling more than £1billion, the Northern Hub will help to meet the growing demands for rail travel and help to stimulate economic growth across the north of England.

“Along with our Ordsall Chord proposal to link Piccadilly and Victoria stations for the first time, which is currently being considered by secretary of state for transport, this is a vital part of our plans to develop the railway.

“This level of building and engineering through the centre of Manchester is a significant challenge and we are keen to speak to as many people as possible ahead of our final proposals being submitted.”

Councillor Andrew Fender, chair of the TfGM committee, said: “The projects the Northern Hub investment will deliver are essential for us to bring our Victorian rail infrastructure into the modern age and ensure it can accommodate more trains and passengers both now and long into the future.

“But it is a programme that is very much the sum of its parts and the additional links between Piccadilly and Oxford Road are a crucial part of the overall piece.

“The start of this consultation signals an important milestone and I encourage passengers, residents and businesses to take the opportunity to find out more about the scheme and the benefits it will bring.”

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Huge rail delays after person hit by train at Lancaster

'Less hassle at smaller airports' claims survey

Air travellers should head for the smaller airports to avoid holiday hassles, according to a Which? survey.

While some of the UK's biggest airports scored customer satisfaction ratings of under 50% in the survey, the smaller ones had scores of between 78% and 85%.

More than 7,000 Which? members were asked to rate airports on a number of categories, including including pick-up and drop-off, seating provision, queues at security, passport control and baggage reclaim.

Small airports were deemed to be those that handled fewer than four million passengers a year, while large ones were those through which more than four million passengers passed each year.

The survey showed that of the small airports, like Blackpool scored 80%.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "The message from travellers is clear - larger airports continue to let people down on the basics, from baggage reclaim to food outlets.

"People deserve an enjoyable break without any stress, so we want to hear from consumers so that we can help to stop the holiday hassles."

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