Network Rail has held a number of ‘drop-in events’ with communities along the Bolton-Preston line, to explain what is happening ahead of significant electrification work that was due to start in January.
Further such events are planned between Manchester and Bolton in the coming weeks, with the company revealing: “In early 2016 Network Rail will begin to install steel masts which support the overhead power line required for electric trains to run. The steel masts will be installed at regular intervals along the railway (at approximately 50-metre intervals) and each requires a concrete foundation to provide a stable base. Some of these foundations have already been installed.”
Those foundations were installed over six months ago (RAIL 786), since when there has been a hiatus - firstly while Network Rail found a new prime contractor, and then while the Hendy Review was compiled and published.
Network Rail added on January 20 that it “will be carrying out work that involves the removal of some trees, shrubbery and overhanging branches within the railway corridor”, work that cannot practically be done during the bird nesting season.
The work forms Phase 4 of the North West Electrification Programme, which was to have been completed so that electric trains could use the route from December 11 2016.