Thursday 21 Jan 2016
Weekend closures between Manchester and Bolton to complete Farnworth Tunnel upgrade
- Region & Route:
- | North West & Central
Passengers were reminded today to allow extra time for their journeys over the next two weekends when the line between Bolton and Manchester shuts so engineers can finish work on the newly enlarged Farnworth Tunnel.
As part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan, Farnworth Tunnel, near Bolton, has been enlarged to accommodate two electrified lines. On Monday 14 December a full timetable was restored between Bolton and Manchester - but a speed restriction, which allowed trains to continue running during the upgrade, remained in place.
To complete the job and allow speed restrictions to be lifted, Network Rail needs to use specialist equipment requiring the line to be shut to trains.
A two-stage solution, which minimises the impact on customers, was agreed by the Network Rail and train companies Trans-Pennine Express and Northern Rail: two weekend closures on 23 and 24, and 30 and 31 January.
Nick Spall, route delivery director at Network Rail, said: “Farnworth Tunnel is an extremely complex engineering scheme in our Railway Upgrade Plan. These closures will give us the opportunity to remove the temporary track layout that was installed to enable train services to continue running while we rebuilt Farnworth Tunnel. Once this has happened we can remove the speed restriction and train services will be back to normal again.
“Over the next two weekends we’re asking customers to bear with us and allow extra time for their journeys. I would like to thank passengers and local residents for their patience throughout the project.”
Alex Hynes, Managing Director for Northern Rail, said: ”These final two weekends of work are the definitive pieces of the Farnworth Tunnel scheme which will go on to enable future electrification in the region. Our services will return to line speed and we can start planning for a new and exciting phase of electrification in the North West. Our customers and staff have been fantastic throughout this project and we’d like to thank them for their continued support.”
First TransPennine Express Interim Managing Director Liz Collins said: "It’s great to see the Farnworth Tunnel upgrade nearing completion. We know it’s been a frustrating time for our customers and staff while these essential works are carried out and we apologise for the further inconvenience to customers over the next two weekends with our services between Manchester and Preston being amended. We are encouraging all customers to check their journey before they travel to see if their journey will be impacted by these works.”
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About Network Rail
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.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.