Wednesday 8 Oct 2003

BUSINESS AS USUAL DURING POST CHRISTMAS WORKS

Region & Route:
National
Carry on shopping! That’s the message as railway engineers prepare to complete a £19 million re-signalling project in the Manchester area between Christmas and the New Year. The work, which started earlier this year, sees the essential replacement of 40 year old signalling equipment at Longsight, one of the North West’s busiest junctions just south of Manchester Piccadilly station. Engineers have already replaced 20km of wiring, converted more than 70 track circuits, installed new lineside equipment and fitted a new interlocking cabinet which helps control the area’s signalling system, in preparation for the final commissioning which takes place between Christmas Day and Tuesday 30th December.             Explained Project Manager Martin Whyatt: ‘We are now carrying out equipment testing through to Christmas, before the final commissioning when the new systems will go live. This will then help to secure the future of the railway in this area for another 40 years.’             And during the works, Manchester Piccadilly station will remain open, with train operators working to ensure shoppers can still access the city by rail, using a variety of alternative train services and special coach replacement services.  Long distance and local services from the South will turnaround at Stockport. A frequent non stop coach link will take passengers forward to Manchester Piccadilly, complemented by a half hourly rail shuttle between Stockport and Manchester Victoria. A special hourly service will connect Manchester Piccadilly to London St Pancras (this service will operate throughout the 2003/2004 timetable). Trains will also continue to run into Piccadilly from the north and the east, including all Trans Pennine services. There will be a road replacement service connecting Manchester Piccadilly , Manchester Oxford Road and Bolton to the smaller local stations and Manchester Airport. There will also be diversionary routes for freight traffic. James Martin, West Coast Project Director said:  ‘We will be working very closely with the local train operators and other stakeholder groups to ensure people can continue to get from A to B during the works, as was successfully demonstrated in December 1998 when we remodelled the tracks at Piccadilly stations’ entrance. ‘Once complete, we will also be able to offer a renewed system with improved reliability, securing the operational future of the rail network in this area for many years to come.’ Full details of amended travel arrangements for this period will be publicised by the industry over the next few months, supported by a comprehensive communications programme.

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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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