Wednesday, 10 September 2014

News Headlines

A few items of progress from my own observations and (mainly) from reports received, for which thanks go to my correspondents.
  • The first wires have gone up between Salford and Manchester Victoria.  Almost all of the ironwork is up on this section.
  • Another 319 is expected to arrive this week.  Update:  319363 arrived on Thursday 11 September - Under its own power, I believe.
  • Finishing work at the expanded Huyton station is nearing completion.
  • Long lengths of the phase two lines now have what appear to be complete OHLE installed.
  • The Chorley tunnel work and re-installation of the flying arches has been completed successfully, there'll be more major disruption next year for Farnworth tunnel.
  • Electrification work in the Roby Junction to Huyton Junction stretch, which was held off while the widening was under way, is now catching up, with many mast bases in place, and masts now appearing.
  • New signals are appearing between Carr Mill and Springs Branch Junction.
On the less positive side, there are significant lengths of phase two where a lot of work remains to be done, including Sankey Viaduct, and some correspondents are forming the opinion that it's not going to be ready on time.

An article in Rail Magazine reports on various aspects of electrification in the Northwest.  Network Rail are still planning to have all of phase two ready for service  in December although this is described as "challenging".  Work on the phase three (Preston to Blackpool) section will include re-signalling with the closure of five manual boxes.  It will require the line to be closed "for some time", probably in late 2016/early 2017.
On phase four (Manchester to Preston), major work will be required to electrify Farnworth Tunnel, involving enlarging the Up tunnel to take two electrified tracks and closing the down tunnel.  Work is to start at Easter 2015 and will require a twenty week period of severely reduced services.

Modern Railways has a report about the 319s.  Additional funding has been found for refurbishment of the 319s transferring to Northern Rail.  The work, mostly to be carried out at Wolverton, will include an interior and exterior repaint, refurbishing of seats, and the installation of door controls so the conductor can operate the doors from anywhere in the train.


  1. They could do with some more Sunday possessions.

  2. Paths have appeared on Real Time Trains showing ECS workings between Allerton Depot and Crewe. They state "timed for Class 350 EMU" but they seem to be driver training runs for 319s.

    The paths are in the system for every day this week but none of these trains has actually run so far. Here are the links to tomorrow's trains (11th September).

    1. I hear that 3 more 319 are due to come up North tomorrow (Thursday).

  3. Excavations have started on Earlestown station platforms to Manchester this week. No sign of work on Rainhill platforms yet, but OHLEs have appeared between Rainhill and Lea Green

  4. It's now confirmed that 319363 has left Wolverton for Allerton this afternoon.

  5. And under it's own power too, it seems.

  6. Do we know how many 319s we have/are going to have by the end of the year?

  7. I've heard that the third 319 is due here soon.

  8. Also heard this morning that another 319 is scheduled to come up North on Monday.

  9. St Helens Star newspaper has legal notice from St Helens Building control and regs re electrification installations at rainhill station and skew bridge.

  10. Explains for the reported delay on phase 2 then!