STALYBRIDGE railway station will see new electric trains running to it early next year as a multi-billion pound rail upgrade takes shape.
The Transpennine Route project, which will see rails from Manchester to York improved and switched to cleaner energy, will go on until the middle of the next decade.
But The Correspondent was told that as gantries and wiring have been installed on the line between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge, via Ashton-under-Lyne, power will be turned on later this year and testing will take place before a full introduction of electric trains early in 2024.
Plans to continue through Mossley and into Saddleworth are also being drawn up, with a view to getting up and running by the end of the decade.
Tameside can lay claim to a large part of the scheme, which will cost between £8.5 billion and £11.5 billion.
For Mark Ashton, one of the senior engineers, comes from Stalybridge and Mossley artist Chris Cyprus is behind projects to involve local schools by contributing displays to stations.
He was involved at the unveiling of one such scheme involving Year 10 pupils at Saddleworth School, which he described as a ‘big proud moment for me.’
He also told how a journey from the area proved an inspiration, saying: ““I remember being on the train to Leeds and most people look at phones, I looked at views.
“Something like this is long overdue and you can say I was here at the very start.
“This whole thing is a journey and it goes back about 15 years when I had initial idea on a train from Mossley.
“I said to friend, Leon Patel, ‘I’ve got this idea. Looking at other platforms to get work displayed on them.’
“I said to Northern, ‘What are the chances of rolling it out?’ The initial idea was doing it from Manchester to Huddersfield but TransPennine said, ‘We have 23 other stations. We love the idea, so you’re going to be busy.’
“Now your work will inspire other students along the line. It’s about believing in what you can do.
“You are the seeds of the whole story. It’s an honour and a privilege to do something like this.”
Mark added to the children: “The whole thing will involve 70 miles of track, 29 level crossings, 23 stations, three miles of viaduct and six miles of tunnels.
“Between Manchester and Stalybridge, gantries are in place but power hasn’t turned on yet.
“Then power will be turned on later this year for testing and the first trains should be next year.”
Chris is no stranger to brightening up scenes as he has several installations around his home town of Mossley.
He also has artwork on display at Tameside stations, now he has been involved in turning Greenfield into an outdoor show.
On the artwork itself, Mark added to Saddleworth Independent: “I had a sneak peek and it blew my mind what the kids have done.
“To me, what these 14-year-olds have done is just amazing. They must be so proud, it’s absolutely fantastic.
“It captures the local community and it’ll be a really good things for passengers to read what the children have done. You get a feel of what’s on offer in this area.
“This is a multi-billion pound investment but you have to be mindful of how imopavc6s people’s day-to-day life.
“Stations are going to be better and more accessible too.
“This can make them visually better too. It makes it a better experience for customers.”