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Farnworth Tunnel services to return to full speed this week

Follow-up work due to take place at Farnworth Tunnel this week will remove the final speed restriction in place, meaning trains will be able to run at full speed.

Full services resumed mid-December after engineers connected the new tracks, but there was an initial speed restriction on the new section of railway.

Track being laid at Farnworth Tunnel 

Over the past two weekends, Network Rail brought in specialist equipment to remove the temporary track layout that was installed to allow services to continue running during the upgrade work.

In the Dec/Jan issue of RTM, Nick Spall, route delivery director at Network Rail, discussed the works to connect the new tracks through Farnworth Tunnel, and the lessons learned from the project.

Track work at Farnworth Tunnel

Today, Spall reiterated his view that the major project to enlarge the tunnel has been an “extremely complex engineering scheme”.

“The new, bigger tunnel complete with new track marks the next step in our plans to electrify the line which will mean faster and more reliable trains for passengers,” he said, a point which Northern Rail’s boss Alex Hynes echoed today.

Work to upgrade the Victorian-built structure to accommodate two electrified lines started in May with an initial 5 October deadline, but suffered a series of delays due to “exceptionally poor ground conditions” and “large swathes of sand”.


Andrew G   02/02/2016 at 09:56

As the new rebuilt tunnel has been completed and is soon to see new overhead wires to be installed for Class 319 & Class 350 EMU trains and other electric multiple unit trains to be using the route in & out of Manchester. The other tunnel which is now disconnected from the railway line could be completely closed off or to be used as a bridleway with a new footpath for walkers and even for cyclists to ride through the former railway tunnel which was the southbound tunnel before the northbound tunnel was reconstructed and widened for double track lines and overhead wires that will be erected inside and outside the tunnel to be installed before it becomes live for electric trains to be used.

Nonsuchmike   02/02/2016 at 16:10

Various feature articles and interviews with overseers in RTM over the last year or so has kept us up to date, and, we suspect, the executors of this short but tricky tunnel honest. So congratulations to the planners who planned and the Engineers & workers who performed this much needed improvement on such a busy line. Soon, with 4 coach diesel trains perhaps, even more of the traveling public will be able to view and applaud this feat, even though there will be more disruption when the overhead electrification is installed. Let us hope this is minimized. Now it is onwards and upwards! What price the Colne to Skipton extension and re-boring a larger Standedge tunnel?

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