NETWORK Rail has vowed to keep passengers on the move while undertaking a two-week, round-the-clock improvement blitz between Manchester Victoria and Rochdale and Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge.
Improvements are planned between Saturday, July 31 and Sunday, August 15 as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU).
TRU is a multi-billion-pound programme of railway upgrades that will radically improve connectivity in the North of England, providing faster, more reliable services for passengers travelling between York, Leeds and Manchester.
The majority of passengers will be kept on the move by diverting trains onto different railway lines between Yorkshire and Manchester.
Some journeys may need to be completed partly by bus, primarily between Rochdale and Manchester Victoria. The latest, state-of-the-art buses will be available to passengers so they can travel in comfort throughout.
Passengers looking to travel over this period are being urged to check nationalrail.co.uk and continue to follow Government guidance around the use of public transport.
Neil Holm, Transpennine route upgrade director for Network Rail, said: “Our improvement work in Greater Manchester, starting next month, is a key part of the upgrade.
“During this complex upgrade we’ll be demolishing ageing railway bridges to install new ones and upgrading track. This work is crucial to enable us to run more trains and faster trains in future as part of the wider TRU programme.
“Though we can’t keep these railway lines open through Manchester Victoria while we do this, we’ve created diversionary routes so passengers can still get in and out of Manchester by train as much as possible.
“Where buses need to replace to trains, we’ve worked with our industry colleagues to ensure they’re the best quality throughout.”
Tricia Williams, Northern’s chief operating officer, said: “It is welcome news that the railway continues to be invested in and the infrastructure improved upon.
“To complete these initial works there will be some planned changes to our services and our message to customers is very simple – please plan ahead and check your journey before travelling.
“To minimise disruption, we will be running state-of-the-art replacement buses, offering clear customer information, including via digital and social channels, and will have more colleagues at stations to provide assistance both before and during the engineering works.”
Kathryn O’Brien, customer experience director for TransPennine Express, added: “We’re delighted to see continued investment in the North of England’s railway as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade. And with these works this summer, we will see a better, more reliable railway for our customers.
“To complete these engineering works, some of our services will be diverted and customers may have to change trains in Manchester, so we would advise those travelling to check before they travel.
“To help with those affected, there will be more railway colleagues at stations to help people get to where they need to be.”