Bolton platform works start ahead of electric train introduction

Improvements to Bolton station that will accommodate for the new electrified railway will be started next week by Network Rail (NR).

The works will begin on Sunday 26 March and are the latest in plans to provide quicker services through the station when electric trains are rolled out in Bolton from December 2017.

Last year, the line between Preston and Bolton was closed for four months on weekends to allow engineers to put new overhead equipment in place for the electrification upgrade work.

Explaining the works that will be carried out, Terry Strickland, area director for NR, said: “We are investing heavily in Bolton as part of our national Railway Upgrade Plan to provide passengers with the railway that will meet their needs for decades to come as well as help boost the economy across the north of England.

“To deliver it, significant engineering is required to improve the track layout, rebuild platforms, cut back canopies and make space for new equipment to power electric trains through Bolton from December 2017.

“We are also reinstating platform 5, which has been out of use since the early 1990s, to allow more trains to run between Manchester and Preston. The work is vital to modernising the railway and will help to create better, faster and more frequent journeys for passengers in Bolton.”

Work has already begun on reinstating a fifth platform at Bolton as the project moves into the next phase, which involves reconstructing the station’s existing platforms and canopies.

From 26 March, parts of platforms one and three will be fenced off to allow the improvements to be made, meaning that there will be alterations to passenger walking routes around the station

Services will run in and out of Bolton as normal for the duration of the improvements to the station.

Liam Sumpter, regional director for Northern, said: “We made a commitment to improve rail services for all customers, and the proposed improvements at Bolton – which are already taking shape following the introduction of the gatelines – are just one way in which we are delivering on that commitment.

“Of course, there is more work to be done,” Sumpter admitted. “We are improving the carriages on our network, introducing new carriages and developing stations as part of a modernisation scheme that will, when complete, deliver a railway fit for the 21st century.”

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Andrew Gwilt   23/03/2017 at 19:58

As the electrification to Blackpool North is already planned. What about electrifying to Blackpool South to & from Preston. So that means Blackpool's 2 main stations will not be shared with Diesel multiple unit trains but also Electric multiple unit trains operating between Blackpool North & Blackpool South to Preston and to Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria and also to Liverpool Line Street. Plus why not Virgin Trains to use the Pendolinos to operate the London Euston-Blackpool North/Blackpool South service via Manchester/Wigan and Preston.

Andrew Gwilt   23/03/2017 at 20:00

As electric trains will also operate between Manchester and Preston via Bolton. Once the electrification is completed.

John Kolodziejski   23/03/2017 at 20:26

I haven't seen any signs of mast and overhead lines yet. Are there any ? Is there enough time to complete this work by Dec 2017 ?

Andy C   24/03/2017 at 08:40

People keep asking about the Blackpool South line and why its not being electrified. The answer is quite simple. Almost all services on this route continue to Colne - this route is also not being electrified so there is no business justification at this time for the work to be done

Mark Hare   24/03/2017 at 12:08

Andrew - why would Virgin Trains want to start running to Blackpool South? And why would they run to Blackpool North via Manchester instead of using the direct route via Warrington/Wigan? And why use Pendolinos on what is not a core route when they currently already provide a (very limited) service using Class 221 DMUs?

Andrew Gwilt   24/03/2017 at 14:53

It might happen ok Mark. Goodness sake.

Jerry Alderson   24/03/2017 at 15:42

Cutting back canopies for OHLE. Says it all, doesn't it? Passengers are an irrelevance, deserve nothing and should be grateful for whatever they are given.

David   25/03/2017 at 12:20

No it doesn't say it all, Jerry. Would you rather they carried on running two-car sprinters for the next 30 years?

Mikeyb   25/03/2017 at 22:05

Mark Carne is now talking about infrastructure savings, by forgetting about electrification and going for battery power and bi-modes. I can see certain people in the DfT and Government taking notice and, as a result many schemes will not go ahead.

Lee   30/03/2017 at 12:14

John Kolodziejski, there is plenty of evidence of electrification between manchester and Euxton junction. OHLE mast bases are in place along most of the route between Euxton Junction and Deal Street junction in Manchester. OHLE masts are now going up on a seemingly sporadic basis along the route, though I haven't seen much evidence of mast bases being installed at stations. You can also see the two previously derelict platforms at Salford Central station are now being brought back into use, complete with electrification masts, though I don't know if they will serve the Liverpool line alone or both the Liverpool and Preston lines. Farnworth Tunnel was re-bored amid much publicity. A number of the overbridges along the route have also had drop-arms for the catenary installed as part of the bridge deck renewal/lifting process carried out over the last few years.

Jerry Alderson   30/03/2017 at 15:40

@Dave: what it says is that when Network Rail needs to do some work to meet an operational need it does not consider anything from the passengers' perspective. There is no reason why a canopy cannot completley cover the platform so that passengers do not get wet. Other countries manage it on electrified lines. We certainly to it, not just on stations with high train sheds but also those with low ceilings such as platform 0 at King's Cross. Perhaps at some stations the existing canopy might need to be replaced to make it safe with the lines. However, NR (or their Treasury bosses) takes the cheapest approach: just cut it back and let their customers get wet.

John Kolodziejski   25/04/2017 at 19:24

I did notice a couple of weeks ago that electrification masts were in place on the west side of Horwich Parkway.

John G. Webster   27/04/2017 at 09:29

Jerry Anderson : To quote Terry Strickland, the area director N.R., he says that the canopies are to be "cut back" meaning away from the platform edge not removing them! Unless you understand the clearances required for safe working of 25kv electrification it is better not to make the sort of comments you made. As the secretary for the Steering Group at the Electrification Engineer based at Crewe in the 90's, when we were the first section on B.R. to achieve BS5750 (later ISO 9000), I am well aware of the requirement for sufficient clearances between structures and 25kv Heights and Staggers, not to mention pantogragh clearances, so I am not surprised to learn that the canopies at Bolton require modification.

David   06/05/2017 at 19:30

Jerry, I've just read (in a forum discussion started today) that the canopy 'valances' over the platforms will be reinstated once electrification works are complete.

Kath   18/08/2017 at 13:37

If and when will we see the return of regular services from Bolton to Windermere? It was always a busy well used service, but for the last two or three years getting up there by train has involved a change at Preston and sometimes a change of Oxenholme as well, a bit of a pain if, as I often do, you're travelling up there to stay for a few days and have luggage to carry

Garth   07/09/2017 at 12:24

With regards to platform 5 , it will be most welcomed. However to correct things this was last used in the 90s but as a parcel siding only . I certainly remember it only ever being used for parcels and my earliest recollection would have been around the early 70s. Therefore last time it was used for passenger trains would have been the 60s .

M. Springer   11/01/2018 at 17:37

When, oh when, will the electrification be completed ? It seems like it has been going on forever ! Network Rail complain about wet ground and running sand. They are only erecting a few gantries for goodness sake! However did the West Coast main Line ever get electrified ? Never would have happened if these guys had been in charge. And what rolling stock will we get ? Probably clapped out 315s from TFL !

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