This summer, major railway upgrade work is taking place between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge/Rochdale as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU).

Queens Road construction compound, Miles Platting, Manchester
Queen's Road compound in Miles Platting, Manchester

Piling work

We will be carrying out engineering work between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge which involves installing steel piles next to the railway to support future masts and electric wires.

The piling will take place until the end of 2021 as an overnight programme initially starting at track in Collyhurst and Miles Platting before moving along to other areas. Please visit our dashboard to track progress and find out more. We are carrying this activity out overnight for safety reasons, as work of this type cannot be done whilst trains are running during the day.

Due to the nature of this work, it is expected that you will experience a moderate/high level of noise disturbance. We would like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience this may cause to you and aim to get the work done as quickly as possible.

Please note: Due to the ground and weather conditions, there may be changes made to the piling schedule. Please check this page for latest updates.

Planned travel changes

Key rail infrastructure in Greater Manchester will be upgraded this summer as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) vision to deliver more frequent, more reliable and faster train services between Northern towns and cities.

The work will take place east of Manchester Victoria station, significantly disrupting services, between Manchester and Stalybridge / Rochdale, for 16 days between the 31 July and 15 August 2021.  The lines and train services will return to normal on Monday 16 August.

Despite the 16 days of railway work, direct train travel between Manchester and Leeds will still be possible but with trains departing/arriving via Manchester Piccadilly instead of Manchester Victoria station.

Impact on train services – 31 July to 15 August 2021

Where possible we aim to carry out work on the railway during mid-week and weekend overnight possessions that do not have an impact on train services. However, for some of the larger pieces of work such as this, we will require longer possessions that will affect train services.

Please visit National Rail Enquiries or your local train operator website for travel information about specific journeys.

Rail replacement bus services

A rail replacement bus service will run between:

  • Manchester Victoria and Rochdale (direct)
  • Stalybridge, Ashton-under-Lyne and Guide Bridge
  • Manchester Victoria and Moston

Revised train services

  • There will be a revised train service on the Calder Valley routes; customers from the East will change between rail and bus at Rochdale for connections to/from Manchester.
  • Transpennine Express services will not serve Manchester Victoria. Instead, passengers travelling to/from Leeds/York and beyond will divert via Guide Bridge to/terminate at Manchester Piccadilly.
  • Passengers travelling to/from Liverpool Lime Street will be diverted to/from Manchester Airport stopping via Manchester Piccadilly.

Additional railway upgrade work between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge/Rochdale is also being planned for several weekends and bank holidays from late August through to early 2022.

The below dates and travel impact have been confirmed. Other dates are currently being finalised and will be communicated soon.

  • Sunday 22 August – This will mean all trains between Leeds and Manchester on the Transpennine route departing/arriving at Manchester Piccadilly only. There will also be some changes to morning train services between Rochdale and Manchester Victoria.
  • Sunday 5 September – This will mean all trains between Leeds and Manchester on the Transpennine route departing/arriving at Manchester Piccadilly only. There will also be some changes to morning train services between Rochdale and Manchester Victoria.
  • Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 October – further information about impact on services will be shared soon
  • Sunday 31 October – further information about impact on services will be shared soon

Why does the railway need to close?

During the 16-day closure hundreds of railway workers will be working day and night to renew key sections of track and upgrade several railway bridges to improve reliability.  This important work is the first step to enable wider improvements that are expected to bring much needed benefits to passengers.

The work forms part of TRU’s wider goal to deliver sought-after improvements along the full 76-mile Transpennine route – stretching from York to Manchester, via Leeds and Huddersfield.

The need to close the railway for 16-days is to provide enough time to refurbish and strengthen Dantzic Street underbridge in Manchester city centre, which has to be constructed from 38 sections due to surrounding constraints. This methodology has been presented and agreed with industry partners as the most appropriate construction method to allow safe and efficient construction in the quickest timeframe possible.

Benefits

Once the bridges are reconstructed this will contribute to allowing for increased weight loading and creates the potential for a higher frequency of trains to run over them. The railway bridges that will be upgraded are Dantzic Street in Manchester city centre, Queens Road in Miles Platting, Bromley Street subway, Oldham Road and Stamford Street in Ashton.

The track renewal work will focus on the section of line at Miles Platting and will help improve train reliability.

Frequently asked questions

Transpennine upgrade

TRU is a multi-billion pound, transformative, long-term railway infrastructure programme that will improve connectivity in the North between York and Manchester, via Leeds and Huddersfield.

It will support economic growth in the North at a vital time and deliver real benefits for passengers and communities along this pivotal rail artery.

TRU will transform the Transpennine Main Line into a high-performing, reliable railway for passengers with improved train punctuality, more trains and faster journey times. The scale of the project means that there will be planned disruption to train services to enable work to be carried out, but we are committed to keeping passengers moving on a train as often as possible, on time and in comfort as a key priority.

In July 2020, the government announced £589m of additional funding to kickstart the programme to enable us to make contract awards this summer for the next phase of design activity and the construction work in Greater Manchester.

Work has also already started between York and Church Fenton to provide a more resilient and reliable railway for passengers.

A project of this scale means that there will be many times when sections of the line have to be closed so that improvement work can be carried out.  The times when we have to close the railway are being carefully planned so that it causes the least disruption, which means work will often take place overnight under possession, at weekends, and outside of peak rush hours where possible.

When we have to close the railway, keeping passengers moving in comfort and on time is our key priority, whether by train diversion or alternative transport such as bus replacements.

We are committed to giving passengers honest and clear information to help plan their journeys and will ensure we give as much notice as possible ahead of travel changes.  We are confident that the long-term legacy of the project will be worth the shorter-term inconvenience of the disruption.

Manchester to Stalybridge/Rochdale

The alternative train and bus timetable plan (as a result of the impact of Covid-19 on timetabling demands) will not be finalised until approximately six weeks before the closure of the railway begins. Once this is available, we will ensure it is communicated out to passengers for awareness.

Travel between affected stations will still be possible either via train or on a replacement bus and we are working together as an industry to develop the best possible plan for our customers.

We are in the early stages of work to electrify and re-signal the railway and renew track between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge stations, via Ashton. As part of this, OLE piling is taking place throughout 2021 and further work is scheduled for 2022.

The work we are doing in the Greater Manchester area will benefit passengers as they start to gradually return to the railway through the course of this year. The work we are doing now is just the start with more improvement work planned in the Manchester area in the coming years.

The Transpennine route is a critical and busy rail artery that, during normal times, has a huge demand placed on it every day. The major upgrades that we have planned for it will help ensure we can continue to meet rail travel demand in the future to ensure passengers travel on time and in comfort.

Contact us

For more information on our proposals you can email us at: TranspennineEngagement@networkrail.co.uk

You can also visit our contact us page or call our 24-hour national helpline on 03457 11 41 41.