Train passengers across the north of England will benefit from faster and more frequent services as part of a £1 billion plus investment in the railway.
Engineers are installing new equipment at the Network Rail and National Grid substation to electrify the railway through central Manchester to Preston in the west and from Manchester to Leeds in the east.
The new equipment designed to convert the electricity supply is being fitted at the substation in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, which also supplies power to a large area of the city and its suburbs.
Sam Morris, sponsor from Network Rail, said: “The new substation forms a vital part of electrification plans in the north. This investment and upgrade being delivered with National Grid will pave the way for a better, faster, more reliable railway that will serve millions of passengers for decades to come.”
The new equipment is needed to convert the 275,000v electricity supply down to the 27,500v required to power electric trains. Network Rail is building its own substation adjacent to the railway, which will connect to the National Grid site.
“This upgrade being delivered with National Grid will pave the way for a better, faster, more reliable railway”
The partnership project is part of Northern Programmes, a £1billion investment in the railway which will see Network Rail upgrade key routes across the north to improve connectivity and pave the way for hundreds more trains and millions more passengers to travel each year.
A spokesman for Transpennine Express and Northern said: “We’re delighted to see this first step towards the electrification of this key route. Investment in the railway infrastructure is vital to unlocking the north’s economical potential and will enable us to provide faster, more reliable trains and improved connectivity between our regions and the communities we serve.”
Jonathan Reynolds, MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, said: “I am pleased improvements are being made locally. I am keen to see the line electrified between Stalybridge and Leeds, and that will be easier thanks to projects like this.”