Government approves £ 78million electrification of Wigan to Bolton railway line

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Chris Heaton-Harris, Minister for Rails, today confirmed that the electrification of the Wigan to Bolton railway line has been approved, providing residents with a greener and more reliable railway.

The Wigan North Western track at Lostock Junction, near Bolton, will undergo a £ 78million upgrade, which is expected to be completed in 2024/2025.

13 miles of infrastructure and a number of platforms will be upgraded, meaning diesel trains will be replaced by electric trains, providing additional capacity for those who choose rail over other modes of transport.

450 overhead stanchions will be installed, 17 bridges and two level crossings will be modified.

The Hindley, Westhoughton and Ince docks will be expanded to reduce overcrowding and provide space for six trainsets.

This recently announced project also allows more flexibility when moving trains in the Northwest and also more flexibility when using the Springs Branch Depot in Wigan.

Chris Heaton-Harris, Minister of Rail, said: “As we rebuild better and create a railroad that really works for passengers, I am delighted to give the green light to this rail upgrade.

“This significant investment will provide a service around Greater Manchester that is better for passengers and the environment, ensuring that our railroad plays its part in achieving our ambitious net zero ambitions.”

Phil James, Director of the North West Route at Network Rail, said: “To help the region recover from the pandemic, we are turning a new leaf with the investment of £ 78million to electrify the route to iron between Wigan and the junction of Lostock.

“This environment and passenger-centric program will be a game-changer for the Greater Manchester Railway, as more electric trains mean better air quality, less rail noise and more reliable and spacious journeys for train travelers. “

Nick Donovan, Managing Director of Northern, said: “The electrification of the line between Wigan and Bolton will have a truly positive impact on the North and will help us provide our customers with better trips on greener trains.

“Over the past 18 months, we have made significant improvements to the Northern network with a fleet of 101 new trains, the refurbishment of our old trains and improvements in stations. Today’s announcement is further proof of the rail industry’s commitment to improving and modernizing our services and infrastructure for the benefit of passengers and the environment.

Transport for the North Managing Director Martin Tugwell said: “It is great news that a commitment has now been made to electrify this key section of the rail network. Northwest region for many years to come.

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