I took a trip to Manchester yesterday to see how things are moving along. Here's a brief summary:
Between Huyton and Earlestown, mast bases are progressing well, but there's loads more still to do.
At Earlestown, the track work is still only half completed. The crossover leading from the down line into the loop at Earlestown West Junction remains disconnected, and a number of the new signals are bagged.
Some work is under way near Astley, and I could see some catenary support arms lying on the ground. Perhaps the section switching point which Modern Railways said was being omitted to save time, is now being inserted?
I headed up to Bolton, as expected there were no signs of work, and then on toward Wigan on the recently added "Phase Six" route. I'll be putting pictures and details of this line on the Routes In Detail pages soon.
At Wigan I walked to North Western to get a train back to Manchester, and I was pleased to find it was one of the new electric units.
Next, I went to Stalybridge for a pint in the famous Buffet Bar, and to check out "Phase Five". Again, pictures and details will be on the web site soon. Bridge raising work is under way at Ashton-under-Lyne.
Finally I took a look around the building site which used to be Manchester Victoria. The track has been lowered under the road bridge at the east end of the station, and a number of catenary support structures have been attached to the roof.
Between Victoria and Ordsall Lane Junction lots of mast bases are in place and some masts and portal structures are up, more towards the Ordsall Lane end.