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  • North West Electrification

    Network Rail is delivering several billion pounds’ worth of rail service improvements in the north to speed up journeys, create rail links and improve stations. As part of this investment we will be electrifying key routes across the north west. This will help to make journeys faster, quieter and more reliable.

  • Which routes are being electrified?

  •  North West Electrification Map

    Our investment will see over 300km of the rail network electrified, improving connections between towns and cities including Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Blackpool. In conjunction with other improvements on the network, this will enable more trains with additional seats to run.

    Electrification will help to provide a reliable and sustainable railway, tackling overcrowding and reduce the cost of operating the railway. Supporting the region’s long-term, low carbon economy and better connecting people to jobs, services, friends, family, education and leisure opportunities.

    The first two phases of electrification are now complete with passengers enjoying the benefits of new electric services from Manchester Airport to Scotland, Liverpool, and between Huyton and Wigan.

  • Manchester to Preston

    Work has been undertaken on the route to assess bridges and tunnels to ensure that there is sufficient clearance for overhead power cables to be installed. To date, we have rebuilt an aqueduct, 15 road bridges, five footbridges and completed work to enlarge the Farnworth Tunnel in Bolton.

    Work is now underway to install overhead line equipment that will provide power to electric trains. 

    Find out more

    Preston to Blackpool

    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.

    From May 2018 passengers travelling between Preston and Blackpool North will benefit from better journeys on more spacious electric trains.

    Find out more

    Manchester to Leeds and York

    We've been developing the scheme since funding was announced in 2011. A fully electrified route will be provided between Manchester, Leeds and York, linking up with the electrified lines at Leeds and York.

    We are currently revising the scheme to include upgrades to track and signalling to take the maximum advantage of the investment opportunity.

    These further improvements will accommodate the projected growth in train services and significantly improve journey times, helping to support economic growth in the north.

    This means the original plan to complete work by 2019 will take longer. Planning for the new, bigger scheme is currently underway.

    We're currently assessing the structures along the route to understand which need to be modified. The outcome of this work will be discussed with local authorities and stakeholders over the coming months.

    Oxenholme to Windemere and Wigan to Lostock

    The Department for Transport announced additional funding to electrify these routes in autumn 2013.

    We're currently assessing the structures along the route to understand which need to be modified to allow electrification. The outcome of this work will be discussed with local authorities and stakeholders over the coming months.

    Electrification milestones

    1. December 2013 - Manchester to West Coast Main Line and Newton-le-Willows 
    2. Early 2015 - Newton-le-Willows to Liverpool Lime Street; Huyton to Wigan 
    3. December 2017 - Preston to Manchester and Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge
    4. Early 2018 - Preston to Blackpool
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  • Useful links

  • North West Electrification

    Download our leaflet to find out more about electrification work
  • Why electrify 

    the railway?

    More seats & improved reliability

    • More seats than diesel trains
    • Lighter trains equal less damage to the track

    Better for the environment

    • 20-35% less carbon than diesel trains
    • Zero emissions at the point of use which helps to improve air quality
    • Quieter trains when travelling and whilst waiting at stations

    Reduces costs

    • Electric trains are cheaper to operate and have lower energy costs
    • Electric trains require less maintenance

    New assets

    • Many of the bridges and tunnels which require work are nearing the end of their design life
    • New bridges have a lifespan in excess of 100 years