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  • Electrification in the North


    Electrification in the north - Header image

    on schedule

    We are electrifying key rail routes across the North to make journeys faster, quieter and more reliable.

    It will improve travel between key cities in the North including Manchester, Liverpool, Preston, Blackpool, Leeds and York, and is vital in supporting the region’s long-term, low carbon economic growth. The first phase was completed in December 2013 between Manchester and Newton-le-Willows, allowing electric train services to be introduced from Manchester Airport to Scotland.

  • NW electrification map

    Click to see full size

  • Which routes are being electrified?

    Manchester to Liverpool, and Huyton to Wigan: by December 2014

    We have modified bridges beteen Newton-le-Willows and Liverpool, and Huyton and Wigan. Work is now continuing to install the overhead line equipment to allow electric trains to be in introduced between Manchester Victoria and Liverpool, and Liverpool and Wigan, by December 2014. 

    Preston to Blackpool: by May 2016

    A fully electrified route between Preston and Blackpool will connect the area to the west coast main line; the key rail artery linking the North West with London and Scotland. 

    We have upgraded all 15 bridges whilst carrying out safety improvement work to parapets.  

    Overhead line equipment on this route will be installed in 2015/16. 

    Download our leaflet about the bridge modification programme (PDF)

    Manchester to Preston: by December 2016

    Work on modifying the bridges and tunnels will start in the spring of 2014 and continue through 2015.  We will also start to progressively install the overhead line equipment. 

    The line will be fully electrified by December 2016. 

    Oxenholme to Windemere and Wigan to Lostock

    The Department for Transport announced in the autumn of 2013 additional funding to electrify these routes. We are currently carrying out an assessment of the structures to understand which need to be modified for electrification. The outcome of this work will be discussed with local authorities and stakeholders over the coming months. 

    Manchester to Leeds and York

    Funding to electrify the North Transpennine route was announced in November 2011. 

    Work has started on modifying bridges on the first phase of the Transpennine route from Manchester Victoria and Guide Bridge to Stalybridge, which will be fully electrified by December 2016.   

    East of Stalybridge, we are currently carrying out an assessment of the bridges and tunnels between Manchester, Leeds and Colton Junction on the east coast main line to understand which structures need to be modified for electrification. The outcome of this work will be discussed with local authorities and stakeholders over the coming months. Once complete, a fully electrified route will be provided between Manchester, Leeds and York by December 2018. 

    Once complete, this will link up with the already electrified lines at Leeds and York. 



    Northern electrification timeline

    Electrificaton milestones:

    1. December 2013 - Manchester to West Coast Main Line and Newton-le-Willows
    2. December 2014 - Newton-le-Willows to Liverpool Lime Street; Huyton to Wigan
    3. May 2016 - Preston to Blackpool
    4. December 2016 - Manchester Victoria to Preston