Thursday 25 Feb 2016
Manchester Victoria and Salford Central stations closed over Easter to enable vital rail improvement
- London North Western
Work to improve rail links across the north of England will affect rail services in the Manchester area over the Easter period and beyond.
The work – part of over £1bn of railway improvements by Network Rail in the north – means Manchester Victoria and Salford Central stations will be closed from Thursday 24 March to Sunday 3 April, reopening on Monday 4 April.
While no services will run in and out of Salford Central and Manchester Victoria for 11 days, alternative stations will be available, such as Manchester Piccadilly and Oxford Road.
Engineers will be moving existing track on the approach to Manchester Victoria station so when the 300 metre-long new section of track has been completed, it will be able to connect and fit in with the new track layout.
Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “I recognise this work will cause disruption for passengers. But I would urge people to view this short-term pain against the long-term gain it will help achieve for Manchester and people and businesses across the North of England.
“The Ordsall Chord will bring better connectivity and faster journeys between the great cities of the North, including Hull, Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester.”
Network Rail has been carrying out preparatory work for a number of weeks on overhead lines, waterproofing and signalling without affecting passenger services.
Over Easter arches supporting the railway will be strengthened to enable heavier loads to be carried in future. Other work will involve widening Middlewood viaduct and installing a new bridge in the same area.
The Ordsall Chord is a key part of Network Rail’s investment in the North of England, helping to bring faster, more frequent, more reliable train services in future. It will create a piece of railway history by linking both Victoria and Piccadilly stations for the first time as well as reducing congestion on the railway.
The 11-day closure means train services will not be running from or to Manchester Victoria but trains will still run to other stations within the city with some services being diverted to Manchester Piccadilly. Trams will continue to run to Manchester Victoria during this time. Bus replacements will also be made available and commuters are being urged to check before they travel. Full details of what this means for Northern Rail customers will be available from Monday 29 February 2016.
Alex Hynes, managing director, Northern Rail said: “Once completed in 2017, the Ordsall Chord development will not only link Manchester city centre by Victoria, Oxford Road and Piccadilly stations but it will also enable faster trains to run across the north of England.
“This closure of Manchester Victoria and Salford Central is one of the first steps towards these benefits. While these stations are closed, journeys into other Manchester stations are not impacted. Our advice to customers is to check before travelling and allow additional time where possible.”
Councillor Andrew Fender, chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester committee, said: “The Ordsall Chord project is part of a transformational programme of work that will significantly improve our railway infrastructure and services and, as with all major projects, there will unfortunately be periods of disruption for passengers.
“The closures of Manchester Victoria and Salford Central have been planned to coincide with the Easter school break, when traditionally fewer people will be travelling.
“Replacement bus services will be in operation and other major rail stations of course remain open as usual. Coupled with the frequent Metrolink services – which will not be affected by the closure of Manchester Victoria – Metroshuttle and other bus services that will be operating in and around the city, there are plenty of options to help people get around and I’d encourage anyone intending to travel during this period to plan their journey well in advance.”
First TransPennine Express interim managing director Liz Collins said: “Ordsall Chord is an essential piece of infrastructure which will help ease congestion and improve connectivity across the North. The 11 day closure of Manchester Victoria will cause a small number of our services to be altered or diverted via Piccadilly. We apologise for the inconvenience this may cause and we ask customers to check their journey before they travel to see if the closure will impact them.”
Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: "The Ordsall Chord is a vital part of the rail improvements, which will bring significant improvements to rail services across the North West, providing extra capacity to support thousands of additional freight journeys and enabling millions more passengers to travel across the region each day. It will provide a huge boost to the economy of the city, helping to drive growth across the wider region and indeed the whole of northern England."
The Mayor of Salford City, Ian Stewart, said: “These works will cause some short term disruption – however they are absolutely essential for the future of our region.
“The region is growing and these improvements are exactly what we need to provide more frequent, faster trains to link our northern powerhouse with other parts of the country. “ As part of its Railway Upgrade Plan, Network Rail is investing £40bn in the railway by 2019 to provide passengers with a bigger, better, more reliable railway for passengers.
Notes to editor
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail’s £40bn spending plan for Britain’s railways for the five year period up to 31 March 2019. The plan is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to tremendous growth the railways have seen – a doubling of passengers in the past twenty years. The plan will deliver a bigger, better railway with more trains, longer trains, faster trains with more infrastructure, more reliable infrastructure and better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 36,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.