New signal installed in Macclesfield, via Network Rail

West Coast main line signalling upgrade works complete

The West Coast main line through Cheshire has received a major overhaul on key signalling sections that will transform the passenger experience on the line. Over the recent August bank holiday weekend, Network Rail completed a key infrastructural upgrades to renovate the signals between Prestbury, Macclesfield and Congleton.

This project comes in at £45m, beginning in July 2021, seeing 56 signals upgraded whilst transferring their control to the Manchester Rail Operating Centre. The final manually operated signal box, at Macclesfield, saw its last lever pulled and train signalled through on Friday 26th August.

Ian Robinson, project manager for Network Rail, said:

 “This once in a generation overhaul of Macclesfield’s signalling system has brought this key section of the West Coast main line up to the most modern standards. The £45m investment will future proof journeys and create a more reliable railway for passengers and freight services.

“I would like to thank local people and passengers for their patience while we carried out this essential work to”

Power sources and electrical cabling was also upgraded, as well as two structures carrying the 25,000-volt overhead lines which power trains, so drivers could see some of the new signals more clearly.

Gus Dunster, executive director of operations and safety at Avanti West Coast, said:

 “We’re excited the upgrades to the signalling system are now complete and would like to thank customers for their patience and understanding while Network Rail carried out these works. Modernising the signals on a key section of our Manchester route is an important milestone for the railway and will help to make journeys on the West Coast main line more reliable for decades to come.”

Renovation of signalling equipment is crucial towards the safe running of trains across the UK network, leading to improved passenger experiences whilst allowing maximised line capacity. The works for upgraded signalling will also afford better opportunities for optimising rail freight as the UK strives to achieve net-zero and decarbonisation of the sector.

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