Chorley Tunnel reopens after upgrade as part of £1bn+ railway investment

Published on : Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Engineers-install-the-refurbished-Chorley-Flying-ArchesThe railway between Chorley and Leyland reopened today (1 September) following a six-week closure to carry out improvements as part of Network Rail’s investment in the railway.

More than £1bn is being spent to deliver a faster, more reliable and efficient railway in the north west of England.


To allow electric trains to operate between Manchester and Preston from December 2016 the track through the 113m long Chorley tunnel has been lowered so it can accommodate the overhead line equipment which will power the trains.

As well as upgrading the tunnel the 16 historic Chorley flying arches – Grade II listed structures on the approach to the tunnel which are the only remaining examples on the British rail network – were refurbished following close work and consultation with English Heritage.


Significant work also took place to rebuild three bridges at Harpers Lane (Chorley), Railway Road (Adlington) and Lockstock Lane (Bolton) as well as the River Chor aqueduct. Two bridges at Station Road (Blackrod) and Chorley Road (Adlington) will be modified in preparation for reconstruction in 2015.

Ian Joslin, area director for Network Rail, said: “More than £1bn of investment is being made to provide a better railway and boost the economy across the north of England.

“Electrification forms a significant part of this and the completed work though Chorley means the line is now ready to install the equipment needed to run electric trains.

“It was a significant engineering challenge to lower the track and as well as rebuilding bridges we have also returned the historic Chorley flying arches to their former glory. I’d like to thank everyone whose journeys were affected for their patience while we completed the work.”

Rob Warnes, planning and programmes director for Northern Rail, said: “The completion of the work here at Chorley is another step towards a better service for our customers and we’re delighted to see the project close successfully.

“Soon customers will benefit from larger, faster and quieter trains and the electrification happening throughout the north west over the forthcoming years means a big boost for the regional economy, opening up even more travel opportunities for rail passengers.”

Chris Nutton, FTPE programme director said, “We are delighted that the improvement works in and around Chorley have been delivered on time and without delay. These works have been necessary to enable a faster, more reliable and capacity increased rail service in the future.


“We have worked extremely hard with Network Rail and Northern Rail to keep customers moving and have provided accurate and update to date information throughout.

“Our normal timetabled service will now resume and I want to thank rail passengers between Preston, Chorley and Bolton for their patience, support and understanding through a sustained period of disruption.”


Much of the work to electrify the railway across the north west is being completed without causing significant disruption to rail services.


Source:- Network Rail


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