Members of the public are being warned to stay off the railway as new high voltage railway equipment is switched on in Ashton-in-Makerfield.

As part of a project to redevelop the Wigan Springs Branch Depot, overhead line equipment has been installed to support the introduction of electric trains across the North West.

The electric trains are being introduced as part of the Great North Rail Project which is providing passengers with better, more reliable journeys.

Now the electricity has been switched on, residents in the area are being reminded to never trespass on the tracks as the new equipment – which carries 25,000 volts of electricity – poses an even greater risk to life and limb now it is live.

Lawrence Cheung, senior sponsor at Network Rail, said: “Safety is our priority and we are informing local people about the new equipment which will allow Northern to stable and clean their growing fleet of trains in the North West.

“Once installed, the cables are always switched on – even when there are no trains passing. It carries 25,000 volts of electricity, which can be fatal. Our message is simple – never trespass on the railway for any reason.”

Wigan Springs Branch Depot is being adapted to stable and maintain 24 electric and eight diesel trains for Northern – creating 19 jobs in the process.

Chris Jackson, regional director for Northern, said: “It’s fantastic to see the new depot nearing completion, bringing with it greater flexibility for train operations and, crucially, more jobs for the area.

“We’re grateful to Network Rail for the work done so far and look forward to being able to officially open the depot later in the year.”

With the number of passengers set to double in the North over the next 25 years, more depots are needed to enable the more frequent services and additional trains planned by 2020.

The location provides easy access to the electrified rail network and the £46m state-of-the-art depot will provide more flexibility for Northern to move their trains across the region overnight in preparation for services the next day. It will be brought into use from December 2019.

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