Chris Heaton-Harris, Rail Minister, has today confirmed that the electrification of the Wigan to Bolton railway line has been approved, providing locals with a greener and more reliable railway.
The track from Wigan North Western to Lostock Junction, near Bolton, will undergo a £78m upgrade, expected to be completed in 2024/2025.
13 miles of infrastructure and a number of platforms will be upgraded, and means that diesel trains will be replaced by electric, providing additional capacity to those choosing rail over other modes of transport.
450 overhead wire stanchions will be installed, 17 bridges and two level crossings will be modified.
Platforms at Hindley, Westhoughton and Ince will be extended to reduce overcrowding and provide space for six carriage trains.
This newly announced project also allows more flexibility when moving trains around the North West and also more flexibility when using Springs Branch Depot in Wigan.
Chris Heaton-Harris, Rail Minister, said: “As we Build Back Better and create a railway that truly works for passengers, I am delighted to give this rail upgrade the go-ahead.
“This significant investment will provide a service around Greater Manchester that is better for both passengers and the environment, ensuring our railway plays its part in meeting our ambitious net zero ambitions.”
Phil James, North West route director at Network Rail, said: “To help the region recover from the pandemic, we’re turning over a new leaf thanks to the £78million investment to electrify the railway between Wigan and Lostock junction.
“This environmentally and passenger-centric scheme will be a game changer for Greater Manchester’s railway as more electric trains mean better air quality, less railway noise and more reliable and spacious journeys for rail travellers.”
Nick Donovan, Managing Director at Northern, said: “The electrification of the line between Wigan and Bolton will make a really positive impact for the North and will help us give our customers better journeys on greener trains.”
“In the past 18 months we have made significant improvements to the Northern network with a fleet of 101 new trains, refurbishment of our older trains and enhancements at stations. Today’s announcement provides further evidence of the rail industry’s commitment to improve and modernise our services and infrastructure to benefit passengers and the environment.”
Transport for the North’s Chief Executive, Martin Tugwell said “It’s great news that a commitment has now been made to electrify this key section of the rail network, It may be just one piece in a bigger jigsaw, but it will support sustainable rail in this area of the North West for many years to come.”
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