Rail disruption for Transpennine route over the bank holiday weekend

Rail passengers are being warned to expect travel disruption over the Jubilee bank holiday weekend as a major signalling overhaul is undertaken in Manchester.

Network Rail will be removing a 132-year-old signal box near Philips Park, with control of the signalling equipment moving to a new state-of-the-art rail operating centre in Manchester.

The works will involve 29 new signals being installed as part of the multi-million pound Transpennine Route Upgrade which will see 4,000 metres (2.4 miles) of track replaced.

Previous track work taking place as part of the project

Network Rail say the work upgrading the signalling system will modernise journeys, helping trains to run on time between Manchester and Stalybridge, and make the tracks safer and more reliable.

They say more than 450 engineers will work around the clock from Thursday 2 June, ready for the railway to reopen for passengers on Monday 6 June.

People needing to travel between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge during this time are being advised to plan ahead and check their journey with National Rail Enquiries to keep their plans on track.

Previous track work taking place as part of the project Credit: Network Rail

This is part of the multi-billion-pound Transpennine Route Upgrade which will bring faster, more reliable services for passengers travelling between York, Leeds and Manchester.​​

Neil Holm, Transpennine Route Upgrade Director for Network Rail, said: “This major investment will unlock more reliable journeys for rail passengers in Manchester, as well as the potential for faster trains in the future.

“I know that people will be travelling across the country to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, so I’m sorry if our work impacts their plans. We’ve worked with our train operating partners to plan alternative routes and bus replacements to keep disruption to a minimum.”

Chris Nutton, Major Projects Director for TransPennine Express, said: “This is another key step for the rail industry towards delivering a railway fit for the 21st Century and the work over the Jubilee Bank Holiday will help deliver better reliability for our customers. 

“Due to the major engineering work taking place, there will be a number of service alterations for TransPennine Express services.

"Our customers are advised to allow for additional time for journeys and to check carefully for the latest advice before they travel.

"Ongoing strike action by the RMT union will also affect services on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 June, and we are urging people to avoid travelling on our services on those dates and to travel either side of the weekend instead.”

The Manchester Rail Operating Centre Credit: Network Rail

Chris Jackson, Regional Director at Northern, said: “This is another big milestone for the improvement of the railway in the north.

"Alongside this there are other projects taking place over the extended weekend and with large events and potentially nice weather taking place, we urge customers to check before they travel so they can plan their route.”

It comes as progress continues on a major scheme to raise the height of two bridges – Granville Street and Southampton Street – so that electric wires can eventually pass beneath them.

Network Rail say clearing the way for a fully electrified railway between Manchester and Stalybridge will ultimately give passengers a cleaner, greener way to travel.