The £20m modernisation project of Stalybridge station, tracks and signals is going well and is on course to be finished by early November.
When the project is completed, the station will have two extra platforms and a brand new coffee shop. The entire railway track through the station and the junctions at both ends will have been redesigned and renewed, as will all the signalling equipment.
Jo Kaye, Network Rail route managing director, explained: “The old design dates back nearly 100 years and simply does not meet the needs of a modern railway.
“The extra platforms and new design will make it much easier to operate trains and improve reliability now, and prepares the route for electrification which is coming in 2016.
“As far as passengers are concerned, that means better train services now and faster and more frequent services in the future.”
The new platforms and signalling system will be brought into use in early November.
To relay the junction and carry out the necessary safety tests on the new equipment, there will be no train services from Stalybridge station from Saturday 27 October until Monday 5 November.
Train operators First TransPennine Express and Northern Rail have hosted a series of Meet the Manager events at stations affected by the work.
Rob Warnes, planning and performance director for Northern Rail comments: “The modernisation of Stalybridge is the culmination of a lengthy planning process to deliver a faster, more functional and much improved railway. We understand our customers will be inconvenienced while the line is closed and would like to apologise to those who will experience disruption.
“We have worked closely with the local community, stakeholders, Passenger Transport Executives and our colleagues at Network Rail and First TransPennine Express to run the best possible replacement services during the upgrade.”
Directors and members of the senior management team at Northern Rail were on hand to answer questions on the impact of the project and discuss customers’ concerns at Manchester Victoria station on Tuesday (25 September).
Rob continues, “Long term, we are confident the new look Stalybridge station will benefit all rail passengers and ensure the future of rail throughout the region.”
Chris Nutton, FTPE programme director said: “The upcoming Network Rail work at Stalybridge will constitute a £20m investment in railway infrastructure that will pave the way for quicker and more reliable journeys. Two new platforms will be built and the number of trains running will be increased offering more seats for customers in the future.
“Unfortunately there is no way to achieve these substantial improvements other than closing the railway in and around Stalybridge for a short period of time, towards the end of October.
“FTPE and other operators will be providing detailed travel information and alternative modes of transport during this period, including operating trains to Manchester via an alternative route. There will be additional staff at stations to help and advise customers.
“I would like to apologise to customers for the upcoming disruption but assure them that we will do everything in our power to ensure they complete their journeys as smoothly as possible. I would also like to take this opportunity to advise customers to check the details of their journey before they travel.”