Passengers across the north urged to check before they travel as work increases on the Great North Rail Project: manc preston 1

Monday 18 Dec 2017

Passengers across the north urged to check before they travel as work increases on the Great North Rail Project

London North Western

Work to complete the Manchester-Preston railway upgrade alongside work on other key parts of the Great North Rail Project is continuing in 2018.

From January 2018, Network Rail’s Team Orange will be:

  • Working to complete the upgrade of the 25 mile stretch of track between Manchester and Preston to support the introduction of better trains. The project was due to complete this December but old mine workings, running sand and varying layers of rock have significantly hampered the installation of hundreds of steel columns to carry the power cables for the introduction of electric trains. New engineering solutions have been required by using steel cylinders and filling them with concrete to support poor ground conditions
  • Continuing work to upgrade the line between Blackpool and Preston to support better services
  • Carrying out resignalling on a 16 mile stretch of track between Edge Hill and Winsford to improve reliability
  • Commissioning new platform eight at Liverpool Lime Street and remodel platforms six and nine between Christmas Day and 27 December as part of this major upgrade
  • Delivering signalling and track replacement work in Huddersfield, Stalybridge and Calder Valley to improve reliability of train services
  • Continuing to upgrade track and signalling on the ‘Halton Curve’ that links the Chester/Warrington line and the Liverpool/Crewe line at Frodsham Junction. This will enable a new hourly service, in both directions, between Liverpool and Chester from December 2018.

To allow for engineers to access the railway, sections will need to be closed during weekdays and weekends starting from 6 January 2018. This will affect journeys in and out of Manchester from destinations including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oxenholme, Penrith, Lancaster, Preston, Liverpool, Wigan, Chorley and Bolton. There will also likely be further closures when the work is being tested and trains are put in to service.

The work will mean major changes for customers travelling across the north west and into Scotland. Network Rail are currently working hard with train and freight operating companies to finalise full details and will provide further updates as soon as possible

Customers travelling across the North West  are urged to check their journey on for the most up-to-date information.

Route managing director for Network Rail, Martin Frobisher, said: “The Great North Rail Project is a hugely ambitious and challenging programme of work and as with any major upgrades to the railway, there will be disruption to passengers. We do understand their frustration but once sections are completed, passengers across the region will feel the benefits.”

Liam Sumpter, regional director of Northern said: “This upgrade is a vital part of the modernisation of the railway in the north west and will pave the way for our timetable improvements in 2018 and beyond.

“We are working closely with our colleagues at Network Rail to minimise disruption to our customers during these works and to put plans in place to keep people in the area on the move.”

Kathryn O’Brien, Customer Experience Director for TransPennine Express said: “This additional work will mean significant changes and disruption to our customers journeys on weekends in the New Year and into spring.

“The changes will affect our routes between Scotland and Manchester Airport and between Liverpool and Manchester. We are advising everyone to take the time to plan their journeys in advance which is important as the changes will differ across each weekend.”

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 - Mark Bellew

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 38,000 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.

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