Latest Rail News


North west electrification phase 1 delivered

The first phase of the North West Electrification Project has been delivered successfully, Network Rail has announced.

Electric trains can now operate between Newton-le-Willows and Castlefield Junction. Direct electric services operated by FTPE will run from Manchester Airport to Glasgow from 30 December.

The five-phase, £400m project will see over 350km of track upgraded by December 2018, covering journeys from Liverpool to Manchester via Newton-le-Willows and Wigan, Preston to Blackpool, Manchester to Preston, and Manchester to Stalybridge, as well as Stalybridge through Huddersfield to Leeds, York and Selby.

Balfour Beatty Rail was awarded the phase one contract in November 2011, and the phase two contract in October 2012, with Balfour Beatty Engineering Services undetaking the power and distribution works. Invensys Rail, now part of Siemens, has responsibility for the signalling, telecoms and SCADA works. 

Network Rail’s route managing director Dyan Crowther said: “Electrification of key routes in the north west will significantly improve connections between our major towns and cities, boosting the economy and providing passengers with quicker, cleaner and more frequent services provide the railway that the region’s passengers want and its economy needs.

“This is the first railway line to be electrified in England in over a decade. We have delivered this complex project, using modern standards and state-of-the-art technology, in four years from inception. We will continue to replicate the successful delivery of electrification across the north west, which will be completed in phases by December 2016.”

Rail minister Stephen Hammond said: “This is the latest step in delivering an ambitious plan to electrify the national railway infrastructure across the north. I am pleased that soon passengers on the Manchester to Glasgow and Edinburgh line will enjoy the benefits electric trains can deliver including faster journey times and more reliable services.”

Chris Nutton, programme director at First TransPennine Express, added: “This is a significant and important milestone which marks the start of a major improvement programme which will bring great benefits to the north of England.

“FTPE has delivered a £60m investment in a fleet of electric trains that will start to come into service in a few weeks and will mean a 30% increase in capacity across our network. Customers will benefit from more journey options, faster trains and better connectivity and accessibility. The procurement of these additional 40 carriages, alongside the north west electrification programme, is a great example of the industry working together and shows our commitment to providing the best possible rail travel for customers now and in the future.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at [email protected]


Ricp   12/12/2013 at 03:15

Hope they have checked all of the droppers and alignments.

Mikeyb   14/12/2013 at 17:39

Installation of masts between Huyton Junction and Springs Branch Junction is almost complete - before they have even started on the line to Earlestown. With regard to droppers and alignments, I would have thought that the whole section between Castlefield Junction and Newton-le-Willows would be thoroughly checked by Network Rail before any electric train is allowed anywhere near the line

Add your comment


Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >