Friday 28 December 2012

Wires Up!

The first catenary of the project has been erected at Castlefield Junction (Not Deansgate Junction as I originally posted - That's somewhere else entirely.)

Update:  I've now been for a quick visit to Castlefield and I can report that a very short length of catenary has been erected at the Deansgate end of the viaduct.

The wires run from Castlefield Junction, so presumably future works will not need any closures of the Warrington line, although they may require the power to be switched off - I didn't spot a neutral section.

Thursday 29 November 2012

Wires For Christmas

My attention has been drawn (Thanks, Peter) to an interesting article in The Rail Engineer about Balfour Beatty's work on the electrification.  The report states that the first wires will go up during the Christmas shutdown, in the area of Castlefield Viaduct.

Monday 19 November 2012

Still No Trains

Modern Railways' Roger Ford reports today that the contract for new trains for Thameslink continues to slip, and Transport Minister Simon Burns has said the first trains will be delivered for testing in summer 2015.

This means that the second hand Class 319 trains intended for the Northwest electrification will probably not be available until after all phases are complete.

Roger goes on to say that the DfT are rumoured to be considering a quick build of new trains to plug the gap.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Ordsall Chord Consultation

Network Rail have announced what they call a "Phase 2 Consultation" on the Ordsall Chord, with public exhibitions to be held as listed below.  Much more information on Network Rail's web site.

  • Tuesday 20 November, 4pm - 8pm, Museum of Science & Industry
  • Wednesday 21 November, 12pm-8pm, Museum of Science & Industry
  • Friday 23 November, 12pm - 8pm, Creative Media Centre, Salford
  • Saturday 24 November, 1pm - 5pm, Museum of Science & Industry
  • Monday 26 November, 4pm - 8pm, Salford Central Station
  • Tuesday 27 November, 10am - 5pm, Manchester Town Hall
  • Wednesday 28 November, 4pm - 8pm, Manchester Piccadilly Station

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Prescot Resignalling

The resignalling work was completed at the weekend, and Prescot Box is now closed.  In addition to the changes at Prescot, the gantry at Huyton Junction which has for many years supported just one semaphore signal now has none, and the other three semaphores controlled by Huyton have also gone.  Hopefully I'll take a ride up the line soon to get more details of the changes.

Update:  I have now been for a trip and there isn't that much to report, just a smattering of new signal posts.  I am disappointed that the opportunity to insert more sections, thereby increasing capacity, doesn't seem to have been taken - I used to commute along here and my journeys towards Huyton were almost always delayed waiting for the preceding train to clear.  And while I'm having a moan, the displays at Prescot are not linked to the signalling system - I watched a train shown as on time until a couple of minutes after its scheduled time, whereupon it was replaced on the display by the next train.  The errant service finally appeared fifteen minutes later.

Monday 20 August 2012

Four Tracking Broad Green to Huyton

September's Modern Railways reports that the funding of the Northern Hub project announced by the Government in July will provide improvements for the Chat Moss route including four tracking between Broad Green and Huyton, with Roby and Huyton stations having four platforms.

Network Rail's web site suggests construction starts in Spring 2014.

Saturday 26 May 2012

Resignalling at Prescot

Prescot signal box is scheduled to be abolished from Monday 24 September 2012. The area - I think there are currently eight signals - will be controlled from St Helens by Track Circuit Block using axle counters.

Sunday 13 May 2012

Summer Timetable

As the engineering works get going, reductions in late evening trains from Liverpool are a feature of the new timetable. For example, the last train to Huyton on Mondays to Thursdays will be 21.42. Traditionally this was 23.16, and it was 23.02 in the last timetable. Buses replace the lost trains. On Fridays and Saturdays, the trains run as usual.

The posters at Lime Street seem to say these reductions are until September, while the National Rail Timetable valid until 8th December shows them throughout. Your guess is as good as mine!

The similar reductions in trains from Manchester Victoria to Liverpool introduced in the December 2011 timetable remain in force.

On the plus side, there are no weekend blockades shown.

Wednesday 29 February 2012

Scotland Trains Ordered

Angel Trains and the DfT have today announced that contracts worth £145 million have been signed for new Class 350 trains, ten of which will go to TransPennine Express for Manchester to Edinburgh and Glasgow services.

Let's hope I don't have to reverse the story again.

Monday 27 February 2012

Scotland Trains NOT Ordered?

Contrary to my report of 3rd February, Siemens and the DfT have apparently both denied the existence of any signed order. So despite getting my news from an "informed source", it appears I may have been premature.

Sunday 19 February 2012

Bridge Works at Roby

The work to raise the Bridge Road bridge at Roby station is well under way, with the brick-faced concrete parapet being craned in to position when I visited.

Thursday 16 February 2012

Gantries Up!

The first new overhead electrification structures, located on the Castlefield Viaduct in Manchester, have been erected.

Friday 3 February 2012

Scotland Trains Ordered

The new class 350/3 Desiro units for the Manchester / Scotland services have at last been ordered, the order for ten four-car units from Siemens specifies delivery "no earlier than December 2013", whatever that means.

The contract includes a further ten units for London Midland and the electrification and upgrading of Ardwick depot.