Published on : Friday, December 9, 2016
Rail minister Paul Maynard joined Network Rail, Rochdale Borough Council and Northern at Rochdale station today (Thursday 8 December) to celebrate the completion of the first phase of upgrades on the Calder Valley line that runs between Manchester Victoria and Leeds via Bradford.
Upgrades to track and signalling between Manchester Victoria and Littleborough, and a new platform built at Rochdale station, are the latest in a number of improvements being delivered as part of a £1bn+ investment in the north of England – the biggest railway upgrade in the north since Victorian times.
Network Rail’s orange army began working on the scheme at the beginning of the year and handed back on time and under budget on Friday 28 October.
The new 135m-long bay platform at Rochdale allows trains travelling from Manchester to change direction without impacting on other services through the station. The additional capacity that this platform provides will allow diesel trains that usually station in Manchester Victoria to be rerouted to Rochdale, freeing up vital space for electric trains.
During five weekend closures of the Manchester Victoria to Littleborough line in April, engineers installed over 1,200m of new track around Rochdale station as well as remodelling existing track to connect the new platform to the network. Upgraded signals along the route will increase the speed that trains can travel on the line.
Chris Montgomery, programme director at Network Rail, said: “The new bay platform at Rochdale station is an essential piece of the jigsaw in our complex upgrade plan. Benefits are not only seen locally in Rochdale, but across the north – easing congestion for when the Ordsall Chord reroutes services from Manchester Piccadilly to Manchester Victoria and freeing up space for electric trains that run on a newly electrified railway in and out of Manchester Victoria from December 2017.
We are committed to building a better railway with better links between key towns in cities in the north and the work completed on the Calder Valley line is testament to that.”
Rail minister, Paul Maynard, said: “I am pleased to visit Rochdale, where the investment this government is making across the nation’s railways can be seen working to improve travel for passengers.
“This scheme is an important step towards delivering more capacity for people travelling in and out of Manchester and improve journey times along the Calder Valley. This is all part of the government’s plan to bring railways into the 21st century, improving safety, comfort and efficiency.”
Richard Farnell, leader of Rochdale Borough Council, said: “With dynamic businesses relocating to our borough all the time and the ongoing £250m regeneration of Rochdale town centre, Rochdale is undergoing an economic revival.
“This fantastic new transport link, which will make it even easier for people to live and work in our borough, is another piece of the jigsaw and will ensure we can play a big role in the Northern Powerhouse and make the most of all the opportunities it will bring.”
The next phase of improvements on the Calder Valley line, between Todmorden and Bradford Interchange, will commence in March next year. Similar work to upgrade track and signalling to increase line speed will see faster journeys between Manchester Victoria and Leeds via Bradford from December 2018.
Source:- Network Rail