Friday 1 Aug 2003


Region & Route:
Network Rail is to spend £5 million developing the Manchester to Wigan Wallgate route.  Track, structures and drainage improvements will start late on Friday 15 August and take 16 days to complete.             The Atherton line will be closed between Salford Crescent and Wigan Wallgate with some services being diverted and others replaced by buses.              The North West Structures Alliance (a partnership between Edmund Nuttall Ltd. and Network Rail) will be removing two bridges and reconstructing another, between Hindley and Ince, and maintenance work will be carried out by First Engineering at Crow Nest Junction.             The Alliance will then remove and reconstruct a bridge between Atherton and Walkden to allow improved rail access for engineering work.              Another Network Rail contractor Carillion will renew 4883 yards of track through the island platforms at Moorside and Swinton in the Wigan-bound direction.  Continuously welded rail with steel sleepers will replace jointed rail on wooden sleepers, using a total of six thousand tonnes of ballast, 6837 sleepers and 9766 yards of rail. - more - Atherton – 2             While the line is closed for improvements, Network Rail will use the opportunity to demolish Pendleton station, which was severely damaged by fire in the early 1990s and has remained unused ever since.  Removal of the unsightly building by specialist company Serco will be a welcome boost to the local residents.              Removal of the bridge between Atherton and Walkden will provide an unusual challenge for the North West Structures Alliance.  All work carried out by the alliance is subject to an environmental and ecological survey, which has shown a large population of the protected Great Crested Newt.  In order to prevent them from entering the work site a specialist contractor will fit 300 metres of ‘newt fencing’.  This will ensure that the newts stay away from the work site and remain unharmed.             Network Rail Regional Director, Tim Clarke said: “The blockade is a good example of how different parties in the rail industry can work together to maximise track access opportunities.  In addition, closing the line provides greater overall efficiency for all aspects of work.  Passengers can expect a smoother, quieter ride without the familiar clickerty-clack of wheels.”             Temporary timetables containing full details of the revised schedules will be available at First North Western stations.  Information can also be found on the First North Western website,  Alternatively, passengers can call National Rail Enquiries on 08457 484950 for more details.

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

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