Manchester to get 21st Century signalling overhaul over Queen’s Jubilee weekend: Manchester Rail Operating Centre-6

Wednesday 18 May 2022

Manchester to get 21st Century signalling overhaul over Queen’s Jubilee weekend

Region & Route:
| Eastern: North & East

Over the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Bank Holiday, Network Rail will complete a major signalling overhaul in Manchester to modernise journeys into the city.

A 132-year-old signal box near Philips Park will be removed, with control of the signalling equipment moving to Manchester’s state-of-the-art rail operating centre. Signals are like traffic lights for trains and bringing them into the 21st Century will help more trains to run on time between Manchester and Stalybridge.

As well as this colossal signalling upgrade, which will see 29 new signals installed, the wider project will also see Network Rail replace almost 4000m of track and secure over 2800m of train-powering electric cable. This will all mean that the railway remains safe and reliable for years to come.

More than 450 engineers will work around the clock from Thursday 2 June, ready for the railway to reopen for passengers on Monday 6 June. People needing to travel between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge during this time should plan ahead and check their journey with National Rail Enquiries to keep their plans on track.

This is part of the multi-billion-pound Transpennine Route Upgrade which will bring faster, more reliable services for passengers travelling between York, Leeds and Manchester.​​

Neil Holm, Transpennine Route Upgrade Director for Network Rail, said: “This major investment will unlock more reliable journeys for rail passengers in Manchester, as well as the potential for faster trains in the future.

“I know that people will be travelling across the country to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, so I’m sorry if our work impacts their plans. We’ve worked with our train operating partners to plan alternative routes and bus replacements to keep disruption to a minimum.”

Chris Nutton, Major Projects Director for TransPennine Express, said: “This is another key step for the rail industry towards delivering a railway fit for the 21st Century and the work over the Jubilee Bank Holiday will help deliver better reliability for our customers. 

“Due to the major engineering work taking place, there will be a number of service alterations for TransPennine Express services. Our customers are advised to allow for additional time for journeys and to check carefully for the latest advice before they travel. Ongoing strike action by the RMT union will also affect services on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 June, and we are urging people to avoid travelling on our services on those dates and to travel either side of the weekend instead.”

Chris Jackson, Regional Director at Northern, said: “This is another big milestone for the improvement of the railway in the north. Alongside this there are other projects taking place over the extended weekend and with large events and potentially nice weather taking place, we urge customers to check before they travel so they can plan their route.”

It comes as progress continues on a major scheme to raise the height of two bridges – Granville Street and Southampton Street – so that electric wires can eventually pass beneath them. Clearing the way for a fully electrified railway between Manchester and Stalybridge will ultimately give passengers a cleaner, greener way to travel.


Notes to Editors

Travel information

Thursday 02 June 

Buses replace trains between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge. 

TransPennine Express services to and from Leeds will be diverted to run to and Manchester Piccadilly. Services to and from Liverpool Lime Street will be diverted to run to and from Manchester Airport via Manchester Piccadilly. 

Friday 03 June until Sunday 05 June  

There will be no trains to or from Manchester Victoria on any route and buses will replace trains between Manchester Victoria and: 

  • Ashton-under-Lyne and Stalybridge 
  • Rochdale, fast and stopping services 
  • Salford Central. Salford Central is a short walk from the central shopping area of Manchester. 

TransPennine Express services to and from Leeds will be diverted to run to and Manchester Piccadilly. Services to and from Liverpool Lime Street on Friday only, will be diverted to run to and from Manchester Airport via Manchester Piccadilly. 

Other service changes  

On Friday 03 and Saturday 04 June, Manchester Victoria to Chester via Warrington Bank Quay and peak-time services between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Victoria will not run 

On Friday 03 June, due to major work on the signalling system, which requires the signalling system to be turned off, there will be no train services running to or from Manchester Piccadilly, including Manchester Airport, between 0001 and 0700 and limited rail replacement buses will run. 

TransPennine Express industrial action 

On Saturday 04 and Sunday 05 June, industrial action by the RMT Union will affect TransPennine Express Services.  

A heavily reduced service will run on these days between Manchester Piccadilly, Leeds and York only. 

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - Amy Brenndorfer
Senior Communications Manager

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