A two page article in December's Modern Railways is highly critical of the work on Phase One, describing it as a débâcle. They include pictures of missing, loose and disconnected droppers, as I mentioned on my 8th November blog entry.
Modern Railways goes on to say that the latest plan is to open the line to electric traction tomorrow (23 November) with Pendolino test trains scheduled for that day and the 25th. At the time of typing I can see nothing in the VSTP feed for these.
Other sources report that test coach Mentor ran up and down the line on Wednesday, suggesting things may indeed be ready for this weekend.
Another point made by MR is that Ordsall Lane Junction to Newton-le-Willows has been commissioned as one electrical section because the section switches were not ready in time. They describe this short cut as a disaster waiting to happen. Presumably further works will be required to incorporate the switches later.
Update 23 November:
A correspondent reports that this morning at Parkside Junction, temporary earth wires were still present, and "some cables are loosely coiled up over some of the gantries". Doesn't look promising!