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September 1, 2021updated 24 Nov 2021 5:58am

UK grants approval for Wigan to Bolton railway line electrification

The $107.22m upgrade is expected to provide additional operational flexibility to train operators.

The UK Government has granted approval for the electrification of the Wigan and Bolton railway line, with the aim of offering a greener and more reliable journey to commuters.

Under this project, the track between Wigan North Western station and Lostock Junction near Bolton will undergo a $107.22m (£78m) upgrade.

This work is expected to be completed in 2024/2025.

After the electrification of nearly 20.9km of infrastructure and the lengthening of platforms, the carbon-emitting diesel trains will be replaced by electric rolling stock.

UK Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said: “As we build back better and create a railway that truly works for passengers, I am delighted to give this rail upgrade the go-ahead.

“This significant investment will provide a service around Greater Manchester that is better for both passengers and the environment, ensuring our railway plays its part in meeting our ambitious net-zero ambitions.”

As part of the upgrade, around 450 new overhead line equipment stanchions will be provided, along with the transformation of 17 bridges and two-level crossings.

The platforms at Hindley, Westhoughton and Ince stations will be extended for managing overcrowding during peak times and supporting six-carriage trains in the future.

Furthermore, the project is expected to give additional operational flexibility to train operators.

Network Rail North West route director Phil James said: “To help the region recover from the pandemic, we’re turning over a new leaf thanks to the $107.22m (£78m) investment to electrify the railway between Wigan and Lostock junction.

“This environmentally and passenger-centric scheme will be a game-changer for Greater Manchester’s railway as more electric trains mean better air quality, less railway noise and more reliable and spacious journeys for rail travellers.”

Last month, the UK Government introduced the Better Value Rail (BVR) Toolkit to streamline the delivery of infrastructure projects.

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