Work to deliver Network Rail’s £1bn+ investment in the rail network in the north of England will increase in 2016, bringing passengers another step closer to better services and a better railway.
This will affect people travelling on the Blackburn to Manchester rail line.
As part of the Railway Upgrade Plan work has already started to build the Ordsall Chord, a vital new piece of railway linking Manchester’s Piccadilly and Victoria stations together, which will open up new direct rail links and support the delivery of faster, more frequent services across the north of England.
To support the delivery of this investment and the benefits it will bring, Manchester Victoria station will be closed on Sundays from 24 January until 17 April 2016. This will mean passengers will need to check before they travel, plan their journeys and be prepared to use other stations in the city instead.
At the end of January work will also start to deliver upgrades to the railway between Manchester and Rochdale. This will see a new platform at Rochdale station to support more trains, along with work to upgrade the railway to provide faster journey times between the two. This work will see Network Rail renew tracks, strengthen bridges and improve the signalling system.
From February work will also take place on the next phase of electrification between Manchester and Stalybridge. In 2015 several road bridges were rebuilt on this route to provide enough space to house the overhead wires which will eventually run underneath them to power electric trains. This next stage of work will focus on further upgrades which need to be made to the railway including track and drainage renewals.
Nick Spall, route delivery director for Network Rail, said: “This is an exciting time for the railway in the north of England as Network Rail continues to deliver more than £1bn of investment to provide passengers with a better, faster and more reliable railway.
“We are working closely with the train operators to keep as many services running as possible so people can continue to travel in and out of Manchester on Sundays with the least amount of disruption. I would like to thank passengers for their patience during this complex work and would urge them to check before they travel with National Rail Enquiries or their train operator for the latest information.”
Rob Warnes, planning and programmes director at Northern Rail said: “As investment in the railway across the North continues, more exciting developments for our customers start to take shape. Linking Manchester’s two main stations together will change the shape of the city forever and vastly improve rail services into and out of one of the North’s major conurbations. We would encourage our customers to check before they travel and ask at their local station for more information.”
First TransPennine Express’ operations director Paul Watson said: “These essential engineering works will help to improve connectivity across our network. The closure of Manchester Victoria will cause a small number of our services to be diverted to Manchester Piccadilly and we are asking customers to check ahead before they travel to see if their journey is impacted. We understand the diversion may add extra travel time and we apologise for the inconvenience.”
Network Rail has worked closely with train operators to plan this work. By carefully planning and delivering key elements of these three projects at the same time the level of disruption. to passengers is kept to a minimum.
During the closures to Manchester Victoria station, Metrolink services will continue to run and most train services will be diverted to other Manchester stations maintaining access to the city. Northern Trains have bus replacement services running from Stalybridge into Manchester Victoria, from Rochdale into
Manchester Victoria and from Salford Crescent into Manchester Victoria. Other services call at other Manchester stations.
In 2015, Network Rail completed work to electrify the railway between
Manchester, Liverpool and Wigan with Northern Rail running longer and faster electric trains from March 2015. In addition to this a new platform was constructed at Manchester Airport, which will help support extra trains when wider works are completed.
Work is also continuing to electrify the lines between Manchester, Preston and Blackpool.