TRAIN stations in Tameside are now back in use after 26 days of closures and travellers enduring rail replacement buses.
Work centred around Stalybridge as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade and building towards the future of electric rail travel in the north meant Mossley and Ashton-Under-Lyne were also shut.
But after engineers worked around the clock, the line running between Manchester Victoria and Marsden is now open.
That means people in the borough can commute by rail after the roads were packed with a steady stream of coaches and even minibuses.
The work saw a full junction remodelling, more than two kilometres of new track and 23 new signals installed, 13 crossovers upgraded and new overhead line equipment for future electrification fitted.
It was part of the multi-billion-pound project, which is set to revolutionise rail travel and better connect towns and cities through more frequent, faster trains, running on a cleaner, greener and more reliable railway.
There will be follow-up work at Stalybridge, meaning passengers may experience disruption on April 15 and 16, 22 and 23 and 29 and 30 April, as well as May 20 and 21.
But the job has been hailed by both train chiefs and politicians.
Rail Minister Huw Merriman said: “Our multi-billion-pound Transpennine Route Upgrade will transform our railways for generations to come and this major piece of work at Stalybridge station is just another way we’re investing to improve rail in the north.
“These vital works will support economic growth, connect communities and deliver faster, greener and more reliable services across the region.”
“It means that trains will be able to move through Stalybridge station faster and more reliably.
“This is just one component of the wider Transpennine Route Upgrade, which will electrify the whole route between Manchester and York via Huddersfield and Leeds, bringing the line into the 21st century with 70 miles of fully electric, digital railway.”
Rob Warnes, Strategic Development Director for Northern, said: “We’re really grateful to all of our customers for their patience throughout this 26-day closure of the line between Manchester and Stalybridge.
“The work that has taken place will allow us to run electric trains to Stalybridge in the near future, meaning faster, greener and more reliable trains for everybody.”
And Chris Nutton, Major Projects Director for TransPennine Express, said: “Completing the 26-day upgrade work at Stalybridge is a fantastic achievement for the cross-industry teams who have worked tirelessly to deliver this important work.
“It takes us another step closer towards this once-in-a-generation rail project which will enable more frequent trains between Manchester and York – running on a cleaner, greener, more reliable railway.
“We’d like to thank customers for their patience and cooperation during the work.”
Passengers are asked to check changes to services on weekends when follow-up work takes place by clicking www.tpexpress.co.uk/travel-updates/changes-to-train-times.