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12.12.16

New Rochdale platform sees phase 1 of Calder Valley upgrade completed 

The first phase of upgrades on the Calder Valley line between Manchester Victoria and Leeds via Bradford has been completed on time and on budget, Network Rail has announced.

The upgrades, which took place between the beginning of the year and 28 October, saw new track and signalling installed between Manchester Victoria and Littleborough and a new platform built at Rochdale station.

The new 135m-long bay platform at Rochdale allows trains travelling from Manchester to change direction without impacting on other services, freeing up space for electric trains on the route.

The Calder Valley route was named as one of the highest priority routes for electrification in a report made to the former transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin in March last year by the Northern Electrification Task Force.

Chris Montgomery, programme director at Network Rail, said: “The new bay platform at Rochdale station is an essential piece of the jigsaw in our complex upgrade plan. Benefits are not only seen locally in Rochdale, but across the north  – easing congestion for when the Ordsall Chord reroutes services from Manchester Piccadilly to Manchester Victoria and freeing up space for electric trains that run on a newly electrified railway in and out of Manchester Victoria from December 2017.”

“We are committed to building a better railway with better links between key towns in cities in the north and the work completed on the Calder Valley line is testament to that.”

The Manchester Victoria to Littleborough line was closed five times in April for engineers to install over 1.2km of new track around Rochdale station and remodel existing track to connect the platform to the network.

Upgraded signals along the route will also increase the speed that trains can travel along the line.

Liam Sumpter, regional director at Northern said: “The flexibility the development will provide, alongside other ongoing projects, will eventually allow us to run six trains per hour between Rochdale and Manchester.

“The work at the station is a perfect example of a number of different organisations having listened to local people and then worked together to deliver improvements.”

A celebration of the completion of the first phase of upgrades at Rochdale station yesterday was attended by rail minister Paul Maynard, Rochdale Borough Council, Northern and the Rochdale MP Simon Danzcuk.

During it, Maynard argued that it was clear that the government’s investment across the nation's railways could be seen working to improve travel for passengers.

“This scheme is an important step towards delivering more capacity for people travelling in and out of Manchester and improve journey times along the Calder Valley,” the rail minister added. “This is all part of the government’s plan to bring railways into the 21st century, improving safety, comfort and efficiency.”

The next phase of improvements on the Calder Valley line, between Todmorden and Bradford Interchange, will commence in March 2017. It is hoped that the further work to upgrade track and signalling to increase line speed will see faster journeys between Manchester Victoria and Leeds via Bradford from December 2018.

Comments

Andrew Gwilt   12/12/2016 at 10:42

Will the Manchester Victoria and Leeds via Bradford line be electrified as part of the Northern Powerhouse scheme and to allow electric multiple unit trains to operate between Manchester and Leeds and to extend the electrification to Hull and York.

Richard S Greenwood   12/12/2016 at 17:43

Before the line between Victoria and Rochdale is electrified the purpose of the new platform will be as a terminus for non-electric services into Victoria from the west. Currently most of these block one or other of the four through platforms whist they terminate and depart back towards the west. Electric trains can terminate at Stalybridge in the west facing bay platform there.

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