Rail passengers urged to check journeys ahead of major work over Christmas

Network Rail is continuing with major improvement work around Manchester over Christmas, as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade.

Saturday, 4th December 2021, 5:00 pm
Major improvement work will take place around Manchester over Christmas, as part of the TransPennine Route Upgrade

From Christmas Day until the early hours of Wednesday, December 29, railway engineers will be working around the clock to upgrade track in central Manchester, install new signalling equipment at Manchester Victoria and complete the installation of a new railway bridge in Droylsden.

This will bring more reliable journeys for passengers and the new bridge in Droylsden will allow overhead line equipment (OLE) to safely run underneath the bridge structure to allow greener electric trains to run in future.

Further improvements to the track and signalling will then take place between Saturday, January 1 and Tuesday, January 4, 2022.

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This crucial work is the latest stage of the wider TransPennine Route Upgrade which will bring faster, more reliable services for passengers travelling between York, Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester.

It follows major work over the summer to reconstruct railway bridges, install new signals and upgrade over 3,000m of track.

With no timetabled train services on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, Network Rail is taking the opportunity to make progress on the upgrades and avoid major disruption at busier times.

There will be some changes for passengers travelling to or from Manchester Victoria over the festive period and into the New Year.

Most services are being diverted to other Manchester stations to keep passengers on trains as much as possible. Where this hasn’t been possible, high quality buses will run.

From January 1-3 there will also be changes to Metrolink services, with some bus replacements in place. Passengers are strongly advised to check their journey via National Rail Enquiries or with their train operator and allow plenty of time.

Neil Holm, TransPennine Route Upgrade director for Network Rail, said: “This crucial work over Christmas to upgrade the track and signalling in Manchester will boost reliability for passengers.

"It will also allow more trains to run between Manchester and Yorkshire in future, improving connectivity across the North.

“We’re doing as much work as we can on Christmas Day and Boxing Day when there are no timetabled train services, but a project of this scale does mean there are changes for passengers over the festive period and into the New Year.

“Trains are being diverted where possible and buses are running to keep people moving.

"I want to thank passengers for their continued patience and remind them to plan ahead.”

Chris Nutton, major projects director for TransPennine Express, said: “As crucial work begins over Christmas and into the New Year for the TransPennine Route Upgrade (TRU), there will be a number of service alterations for TransPennine Express services; passengers are advised to allow for extra time and check the latest travel advice before they travel on our website www.tpexpress.co.uk/travel-updates/changes-to-train-times; updates will also be available on our social media channels.

"In addition, extra support will be available for passengers from customer delivery managers who will be on hand to assist passengers with their journeys.”

Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern, said: “The TransPennine Route Upgrade is a vital part of the future of rail in the North.

“As an industry we have worked closely to keep disruption to a minimum and our customers on the move.

"We are advising anyone using our services over this period to plan ahead and check the latest travel updates.”