Network Rail announces completion of work

on first phase of North West electrification

Published 17 July 2013


Electric trains will be able to run between Manchester Airport and Scotland from December 2013, Network Rail said today,

as it announced completion of the first phase of the £400m North West electrification programme.


The installation of new infrastructure on part of the world's oldest public railway

between Newton Le Willows and Castlefield Junction


marks a major milestone in the programme

which will see over 350 track kilometres upgraded across the north of England.



Secretary of State, Patrick McLoughlin,

unveils a plaque at Eccles Station


commemorating the electrification work

on the world's oldest public railway





On 17 July 2013, at a short ceremony held at Eccles station,

one of many set to benefit from the investment,



Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, said:


“The Government is committing record amounts of investment

into transforming the rail network and it is great to see this work happening right now.

“Electrification of these routes will significantly improve connections between our major towns and cities,

boosting the economy and providing passengers with quicker, cleaner and more frequent services.”


Jane Simpson, Network Rail's Director of Route Asset Management, explained the benefits of electrification:


“Electrification helps us to boost capacity, reduce carbon emissions and cut the cost of running the railway.

"Electric trains are also quieter, more reliable and have more seats, which is good news for passengers.

“This work is part of a wider programme of improvements

that will transform rail travel in the north of England.


"By enabling faster, more frequent trains to connect key towns and cities

we can provide the railway that the region's passengers want and its economy needs.”





Eccles Station, where a plaque was unveiled

commemorating the electrification

of the former Liverpool and Manchester Railway




Lee Wasnidge, area director for Northern Rail, said:

“Investment in rail infrastructure in the North West

is helping us develop better and faster services for our customers.

This electrification project is just one part of the massive improvement scheme

being rolled out across the region."


"Eccles station itself is benefitting from funding secured

from the National Station Improvement Programme

with a brand new ticket office due to open here next month.”


Chris Nutton, First TransPennine Express Programme Director, said:


"We are absolutely delighted that the investment in an electric railway for the north west of England

is on plan and progressing well.

It is a huge and unprecedented level of investment

that will pave the way for yet more improved rail services for customers across the region.

"FTPE has invested £60m in a fleet of new trains

that will start to come into service from December this year

and will mean a 30% increase in capacity across our network.

Customers will benefit from more journey options, faster trains and better connectivity and accessibility.

"The North West electrification and our procurement of an additional 40 carriages

is a great example of the industry working together

and shows our commitment to providing the best possible rail travel for customers now and into the future."

The next major improvements will come in December 2014,

when electric trains will be able to run from Liverpool to Manchester

via Newton le Willows and Wigan


and from December 2016,

when they will run between Preston and Blackpool,

Manchester and Preston

and Manchester and Stalybridge.


This will be followed by the completion of trans-Pennine electrification from Stalybridge

through Huddersfield on to Leeds, York and Selby by December 2018.




Secretary of State Patrick McLoughlin unveils a plaque at Eccles Station,

commemorating the electrification work on the world's oldest public railway,


pictured with London North Western Director of Route Asset Management, Jane Simpson,

and Mayor of Salford, Ian Stewart




    The North West electrification programme is being delivered in five phases between December 2013 and December 2016:


    Phase 1: X XBetween Castlefield Junction and Newton Le Willows by December 2013

    Phase 2a: X Between Liverpool and Newton Le Willows

    Phase 2b: XBetween Huyton and Wigan

    Phase 2c: XBetween Castlefield Junction and Manchester Victoria, all by December 2014

    Phase 3: X XPreston to Blackpool, by May 2016

    Phase 4: X XManchester Victoria to Preston (Euxton Junction), by December 2016

    Phase 5: X XManchester Victoria to Stalybridge, Guide Bridge to Stalybridge by December 2016



Key facts for North West electrification:


Overall Cost of North West Electrification Programme: £400m

Cost of phase 1 including bridge work: £60m

Route Miles electrified (km): 24.3 km

Track miles electrified (km): 58 km

Number of bridges rebuilt: 3

Number of bridges where track was lowered: 5

Number of new foundations for overhead stanchions: 517

Number of overhead stanchions erected: 650

Km of overhead copper cable installed: 118 km

Km of aluminium cable installed: 92 km

Electrification distribution sites: 2


From 3 July, Network Rail started to commission and test the electrical equipment

with the aim of having the whole system energised by 2 September.



First TransPennine Express will start running direct electric services using 10 new Siemens-built Class 350/4

from Manchester Airport to Glasgow from December 2013.

These new trains will deliver an increase in capacity of more than 80 per cent on this route.

The new 100mph, Class 350/4 trains will each have four carriages and a total of 210 seats,

19 of which will be first class.



North West electrification is part of Network Rail's plan for the north of England,

which includes the electrification of key rail routes.


The £44m project to transform Manchester Victoria station.


The building of the Northern Hub, which will create space for

faster, more frequent trains to connect key towns and cities in the North of England.



The last significant electrification in England was between Kidsgrove and Crewe

as part of the West Coast Main Line upgrade in 2003.



The Liverpool and Manchester railway which passes through Eccles station

is the world's oldest public railway still in operation.


It was built by George Stephenson in the reign of George IV

and opened on 15 September 1830 during the reign of William IV.


Eccles Railway station is one of the oldest railway stations still in continuous passenger use.



A new ticket office is being built at Eccles station at a cost of £240,000

as part of the National Station Improvement Programme.


Due for completion in August, the ticket office includes the provision of CCTV to the ticket office structure.



George Stephenson recognised the importance of electrification

when he said towards the end of his life that . . “one of the great uses to which electric force will be applied,

eventually will be the simple conveyance of power by means of wires.

(The Power of Steam, Asa Briggs, 1990)





Media Relations (North West & West Midlands)

Telephone 0161 880 3142



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