Major railway improvement works will see line from Rochdale to Victoria closed from 31 July

Date published: 13 July 2021

Local railway lines will be closed for 16 days later this month as work improving the railway as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade begins.

The work will take place east of Manchester Victoria station, closing the lines towards Rochdale and Stalybridge.

From 31 July to 15 August 2021, trains will largely only run between Leeds and Rochdale, but some services will continue to and from Moston, serving Castleton, Mills Hill and Moston.

Customers making through journeys to and from Manchester must change at Rochdale and use the fast rail replacement bus service between Rochdale and Manchester Victoria. Please do not travel to or from Moston.

A limited rail replacement bus service will also run between Castleton, Mills Hill, Moston and Manchester Victoria to compliment the train service.

Rail replacement buses are unable to carry heavy luggage, non-folding bicycles, prams or scooters and animals (other than registered assistance dogs). Hot food and drinks, alcoholic drinks cannot be consumed on the bus services.

The lines will reopen on Monday 16 August.

Despite the 16-day closure, direct train travel between Manchester and Leeds will still be possible but with trains departing/arriving via Manchester Piccadilly instead of Manchester Victoria station.

The work forms part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade’s wider goal to deliver sought-after improvements along the full 76-mile Transpennine route – stretching from York to Manchester, via Leeds and Huddersfield.

The need to close the railway for 16-days is to provide enough time to refurbish and strengthen Dantzic Street underbridge in Manchester city centre, which has to be constructed from 38 sections due to surrounding constraints.

Once the bridges are reconstructed this will contribute to allowing for increased weight loading and creates the potential for a higher frequency of trains to run over them. The railway bridges that will be upgraded are Dantzic Street in Manchester city centre, Queens Road in Miles Platting, Bromley Street subway and Oldham Road.

The majority of passengers will be kept on the move by diverting trains onto different railway lines between Yorkshire and Manchester, with some journeys to be completed by bus - primarily between Rochdale and Manchester Victoria.

Passengers looking to travel over this period are being urged to check 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 Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU).

“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.”

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