Manchester’s railway signalling system is set to be brought into the 21st century as part of the Great North Rail Project.
Tens of millions of pounds is to be used to improve journeys for passengers and freight, with the nearly 40-year-old equipment being replaced.
Signalling equipment between Flixton Station and Manchester City Centre will be modernised, as well as improvement within Trafford Park Depot estate.
There will also be signalling upgrades to Freightliner Manchester terminal, DB Cargo and GB Railfreight at the Trafford Park Euro Terminal.
This will bring vast benefits to the rail freight companies, growing the frequency and length of trains they can run and goods they can transport.
The £36m work by Network Rail will install the latest digital technology to improve reliability and safety on this vital route into Manchester.
The upgrade started in August and will be complete in autumn 2021.
Roisin Nelson, sponsor for Network Rail, said: “This multi-million-pound Great North Rail Project investment into signalling on one of the key rail arteries into Manchester will make passenger and freight journeys across the whole of the North West more reliable.
“Work like this has never been more important - future proofing this economically important rail link as Britain emerges from the coronavirus pandemic. I’d like to thank passengers and residents for their patience while we deliver this major project to keep passengers on the move, products on supermarket shelves and vital goods going to businesses across the country for decades to come."
Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern, said: “The Great North Rail Project is doing a fantastic job in modernising the rail infrastructure and delivering improvements that directly benefit our customers. We will work closely with Network Rail over the coming weeks and months to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum and the improvements are delivered as efficiently as possible.”
Ian Kapur, head of strategic access planning at GB Railfreight, said: "GB Railfreight is pleased that this vital freight route serving Trafford Park is having its signalling and operational flexibility upgraded. This shows Network Rail’s commitment in supporting intermodal traffic growth along this important freight corridor.”
Image: Network Rail