Multimillion pound track upgrades to affect weekend train journeys into Greater Manchester

Passengers are being advised about changes to weekend journeys between Bolton and Manchester while Network Rail improves the railway this month.

By Clare Kelly
Saturday, 5th February 2022, 12:30 pm

Track is being upgraded between Bolton, Salford Crescent and Manchester Victoria in February as part of the Great North Rail Project.

The £3.1m investment involves renewing switches and crossings, which are moveable sections of track allowing trains to move from one track to another. The essential work will mean smoother and more reliable journeys for passengers in the North West.

The work will be carried out each Saturday and Sunday in February and the first weekend of March 2022. Trains won’t be able to run while the work is being carried out. To keep people on the move, rail replacement buses will be in operation throughout the work.

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Passengers are being advised about changes to weekend journeys between Bolton and Manchester while Network Rail improves the railway. Picture shows Ordsall Lane and comes courtesy of Network Rail air operations

Journeys will take longer and passengers are urged to check www.nationalrail.co.uk so they know exactly what to expect during the improvements.

Phil James, Network Rail’s North West route director, said: “These important track improvements between Bolton, Salford Crescent and Manchester Victoria will mean more reliable journeys for passengers and freight.

“I’d urge anyone planning to travel into Manchester through Wigan and Bolton in February to check National Rail Enquiries to plan their journeys. I’d also like to thank passengers and local people in advance for their patience.”

Train operators Northern and TransPennine Express are running amended timetables during the work.

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.

“To allow track upgrades to take place between Bolton and Manchester, we will be running bus replacement services on weekends until early March.

“We will continue to work closely with our colleagues across the rail industry to minimise the impact on our customers and I’d like to thank them in advance for their patience and understanding while the work is completed.”

A spokesperson for TransPennine Express said: “Whilst track improvements take place between Bolton, Salford Crescent and Manchester Victoria, we will be running an amended table each Saturday and Sunday throughout February for our services between Manchester Airport and Glasgow and Manchester Airport and Edinburgh. Passengers are advised to check the latest travel updates for services on the weekend on www.tpexpress.co.uk/travel-updates/changes-to-train-times”

Passengers are also being informed about the replacement of a bridge in Westhoughton on Sunday, February 20, to make way for overhead lines which will power greener and more reliable electric trains between Wigan and Manchester via Bolton.

Northern:

Saturday

Barrow-in-Furness / Windermere - Manchester Airport: Trains will run between Barrow-in-Furness / Windermere and Preston. Alternative services are available between Preston and Manchester.

Preston - Manchester Airport via Wigan North Western: Trains will be extended to start / terminate at Blackpool North.

Blackpool North - Manchester via Chorley: Trains will start / terminate at Bolton.

Wigan North Western - Leeds: Trains will run between Manchester Victoria and Leeds.

Kirkby - Blackburn: Trains will run between Kirkby / Wigan North Western and Walkden, and between Manchester Victoria and Blackburn.

Southport - Alderley Edge: Trains will run between Southport and Bolton, and between Manchester Oxford Road and Alderley Edge.

Southport - Stalybridge: Trains will run between Southport and Bolton, and between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge.

Manchester Victoria and Clitheroe: Trains will start / terminate at Bolton

Buses will be provided between Manchester and Bolton / Walkden.

Sunday

Blackpool North - Manchester Airport: Trains will be diverted to run via Wigan North Western.

Barrow-in-Furness / Windermere - Manchester Airport: Trains will be diverted to run to / from Bolton.

Southport - Blackburn: Trains will run between Southport and Walkden, and between Rochdale and Blackburn.

Manchester Victoria and Clitheroe: Trains will start / terminate at Bolton

Buses will be provided between Manchester and Bolton / Walkden.

TransPennine Express:

An amended timetable will be in place between Manchester Airport and Glasgow Central / Edinburgh.

Trains between Manchester Airport and Glasgow Central will start / terminate at Preston.

Trains between Manchester Airport and Edinburgh will be retimed to depart up to 15 minutes earlier from Manchester Airport and will not call at Manchester Oxford Road or Bolton.