After the release of the IRP, quadrant Transport looks at the early progress made in the Transpennine Route Upgrade around Manchester.
As part of the multi-billion pound scheme, Network Rail and its contractors are beginning major railway upgrades between Manchester and Stalybridge.
As part of the upgrade, new trackside columns will be installed. This infrastructure will carry train-powering electric wires in the future. Additionally, there will be a focus on renewing 1.6km of track and upgrading the signalling equipment over the coming months.
Challenges along the route will test the skills of the workforce
One of the difficulties with electrification is that many bridges are too low to accommodate overhead lines. Combatting this, Network Rail has set out plans to lift two bridges in Ashton-under-Lyne.
The overall cost of the entire scheme is estimated to be between £2.9bn and £3.1bn
The ultimate aim of TRU is to deliver faster, greener, more frequent and reliable trains across the whole of the North. Ranging from Manchester to Leeds, Newcastle and Hull, upgrading 122km of track is essential to achieve this goal.
There will be many challenges to overcome, as the route has are eight tunnels, 15 viaducts, 25 stations and 270 bridges.
The collaboration will be key as two alliances are formed
Ensuring the project runs on time and budget, two separate alliances are operating along the route. Amey, Bam Nuttall and Arup are delivering the route upgrade to the West of Leeds. Meanwhile, an alliance with VolkerRail, Murphy and Siemens is carrying out work on the eastern leg of the TRU.
In a separate interview, Network Rail principal programme sponsor Hannah Lomas said: “These major upgrades will bring us another step closer to delivering a fully electrified, more modern railway for the future.
“We’ve worked closely with our train operating colleagues to make sure passengers can still travel to wherever they’re headed, and I’d advise anyone wishing to travel to plan ahead and allow extra time for their journey.”