RAIL passengers have been promised more trains, more seats and less overcrowding as Network Rail pledged to invest £38 billion to improve services up and down the country.

The owner and operator of Britain’s train tracks today (MON) marked the start of a five-year plan, which includes a scheme to add more than 25,000 extra seats for services travelling in Manchester during the morning rush-hour.

Other plans affecting Bolton commuters include the £400 million North West electrification programme — including the £37 million to electrify the Bolton to Wigan line — a £20 million platform upgrade at Manchester Airport station and the £600 million Northern Hub project.

Rail minister Stephen Hammond MP said he was determined to make sure passengers and businesses get the services they deserve, He said: “We are putting record amounts of government funding into our railways over the next five years.

“Improved stations, massive electrification and better infrastructure will deliver quicker, cleaner and more reliable journeys for passengers and drive forward our long-term economic plans.

“In addition I will continue to push the industry to make sure they are delivering the electric trains that will make this transformation complete.”

About 146 million journeys are made in the North West every year, including around 3.3 million from Bolton train station every 12 months.

The Bolton News launched the Let’s Get Back On Track campaign, which has called for rail bosses to introduce more carriages to ease overcrowded rush hour services.

Dyan Crowther, Network Rail’s route managing director, said this was an “important and exciting” time for the railway industry.

She added: “Passenger numbers in recent years have grown far beyond predictions, so it’s vital that this investment over the next five years helps meet the increasing demand across the north west of England.

“Improved stations, more tracks and longer platforms, electric trains, reopened railway lines and fewer level crossings — all will help deliver more frequent, more comfortable, more reliable journeys and a safer railway for everyone.”