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North West electrification

We are delivering over £1bn of rail service improvements to speed up journeys, create rail links and improve stations as part of the Great North Rail Project.

As part of this investment we will be upgrading and electrifying key routes across the North West. This will help to make journeys faster, quieter and more reliable.

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 reducing the cost of operating the railway. It will support the region’s long-term, low-carbon economy and better connect people to jobs, services, friends, family, education and leisure opportunities. Download our leaflet to find out more about electrification in the North West.

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 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 Mainline, 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 Stalybridge

An upgraded and electrified route to Stalybridge will then be taken forward to Leeds and beyond by the Transpennine Route Upgrade.

This includes improvements to tracks to speed up journey times, and a new power supply feeder station that will help provide the electricity needed for the wider programme of electrification.

Find out more about the railway upgrade to Leeds, Selby and York

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