Network Rail will soon be starting work at upgrading the track through one of the oldest railway tunnels in the world. The 180-year-old Summit tunnel is on the line between Rochdale and Hebden Bridge.
Work to replace more than 3km of track will be taking place this Autumn as part of a £2m Great North Rail Project.
The tunnel in 2.6km long and was built between 1838 and 1841 and is part of the Manchester to Leeds railway.
The work is taking place between Saturday 23rd and Sunday 31st October and the line will be closed for the nine days whilst the work takes place.
Rail replacement buses will be in operation between Rochdale and Hebden Bridge, with buses replacing trains at the weekends between Manchester and Rochdale and also between Hebden Bridge, Burnley Manchester Road and Accrington stations
Passengers planning to make journeys along the route are asked to plan their journeys in advance on the National Rail Enquiries website.
Karen Hornby, Network Rail’s North West head of performance and customer relationship, said: “We appreciate passengers’ patience while we carry out these vital improvements to Summit tunnel as part of the Great North Rail Project. The work will mean fewer train delays on the Calder valley line and make tracks inside the Victorian-built structure fit for the 21st century.
“However, replacing track like this means we have no choice but to close the line for old sections to be ripped up and replaced with new. I’d urge anyone planning to travel over the nine-day railway closure to check National Rail Enquiries to they know exactly what to expect from their journeys.”
Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern said: “The work being carried out by Network Rail is vital and will provide our customers with an even more reliable railway.”
“We are sorry for any disruption during the improvements and our customers can be assured that both Northern and Network Rail will do everything possible to minimise the impact of the work and deliver alternatives that keep people on the move.”
Work is also taking place to upgrade a culvert which runs under the railway lines and Network Rail are working in partnership with the Environment Agency as part of their flood defence plans in the area.
Nick Pearson, senior flood risk advisor with the Environment Agency, said: “Working in partnership with Network Rail as part of the proposed £56m Rochdale and Littleborough Flood Risk Management Scheme will make a huge difference to rail passengers, residents and the local economy.
“This project, one of the biggest flood alleviation schemes in the north of England, will play a crucial role in better protecting the community from the risk of flooding and we are pleased to see it progress.”
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