Network Rail has announced upgrade work will be taking place this summer on the Transpennine route from Greater Manchester to Yorkshire.
The work is scheduled to take place between the 31st July and the 16th August 2021.
To enable the work to take place a 16-day closure of the railway east of Manchester Victoria towards Stalybridge and Rochdale will take place.
Part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) programme the work will form part of the wider plans to upgrade the full 76-mile route from York to Manchester via Leeds and Huddersfield.
While the railway is closed, teams from Network Rail will be working day and night to upgrade railway bridges and renew sections of track.
During the closure, no trains will run between Rochdale and Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge to Manchester Victoria.
Passengers will either need to take alternative trains or use the rail replacement buses.
Trains between Manchester and Leeds will still run but will arrive and depart from Manchester Picadilly instead of Manchester Victoria.
Full details of the changes to train times, routes and replacement buses will be made nearer the time.
Phil James, Network Rail’s North West route director, said: “The Transpennine Route Upgrade is a transformative, long-term project supporting economic growth in the North at a vital time and delivering real benefits for passengers and communities.”
“A project of this size and scale means there will be times when we have to close the railway – and the 16-day closure this summer in Greater Manchester signifies one of these moments. However, working alongside train operators, we are committed to keeping passengers on a train as often as we possibly can, moving on time and in comfort. We are confident that the long-term legacy of the project will be worth the shorter-term inconvenience of the disruption.”
Rob Warnes, strategic development director at Northern, said: “This is important work that absolutely needs to be done. Improving the track and infrastructure will mean more reliable journeys and in time more capacity and faster travel.”
“We do recognise, however, that the closure of the line will mean customers will have a different travel experience and we want to provide as much notice of the changes as possible. During the 16-day closure journey times will be increased and buses will replace trains between Manchester Victoria and Rochdale affecting wider journeys between Bradford and Manchester.”
“We are working up the full details of what these changes will mean and will provide more information to customers in the coming months.”
Transport Minister Andrew Stephenson MP, said: “The Transpennine Upgrade is at the heart of our commitment to improve rail journeys for passengers across the North, focused on significantly improving reliability and punctuality. As we build back better from Covid-19, boosting capacity and journey times, we will work with local partners to keep disruption throughout these vital upgrades to a minimum.”
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “This rail route forms a vital link across the North, connecting cities and ports and supporting the regional and national economy. Leaders from across the North have been calling for improved connectivity for many years through High Speed Rail, Northern Powerhouse Rail and improved Transpennine connections. We welcome this work which should be seen as just the start of a transformational investment in rail across the North, supporting the Government’s levelling up agenda and ensuring we build back better from the pandemic. We will be working closely with both Network Rail and the train and freight operators to ensure, as this vital work progresses, passengers, business and communities are properly provided for and disruption is minimised wherever possible.”
Kathryn O’Brien, customer experience director for TransPennine Express, said: “These works will affect some of our customers travelling through Manchester and we’d like to assure them that we have plans that will keep their disruption down to an absolute minimum.”
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