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Issue:- 12 December 2013

Network Rail delivers 1st Phase of North West electrification

ELECTRIC trains have started to operate over the railway between Newton Le Willows and Castlefield junction outside Manchester Piccadilly, marking the commissioning of the first phase of the £400m North West electrification project on time and under budget.

The commissioning of new electrical infrastructure on part of the world's oldest public railway between Newton Le Willows and Castlefield Junction marks a major milestone in the project which will see over 350km of track upgraded across the North of England delivered by December 2018.

The North West electrification programme has been delivered into 5 phases, between December 2013 and December 2016:-

The now compleated:-

Phase 1:- Between Castlefield Junction and Newton Le Willows.

Work now has strted on:-

Phase 2a:- Between Liverpool and Newton Le Willows

Phase 2b:- Between Huyton and Wigan

Phase 2c:- Between Ordsall Lane and Manchester Victoria, all by December 2014

Phase 3:- Preston to Blackpool, by May 2016

Phase 4:- Manchester Victoria to Preston (Euxton Junction), by December 2016

Phase 5:- Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge, Guide Bridge to Stalybridge, December 2016

Dyan Crowther, route managing director, Network Rail, said:- "Electrification of key routes in the North West will significantly improve connections between our major towns and cities, boosting the economy and providing passengers with quicker, cleaner and more frequent services provide the railway that the region's passengers want and its economy needs. This is the 1st railway line to be electrified in England in over a decade. We have delivered this complex project, using modern standards and state-of-the-art technology, in 4 years from inception. We will continue to replicate the successful delivery of electrification across the North West which will be completed in phases by December 2016."

Rail minister Stephen Hammond said:- "This is the latest step in delivering an ambitious plan to electrify the national railway infrastructure across the North. I am pleased that soon passengers on the Manchester to Glasgow and Edinburgh line will enjoy the benefits electric trains can deliver including faster journey times and more reliable services."

Chris Nutton, programme director, First TransPennine Express, said:- "This is a significant and important milestone which marks the start of a major improvement programme which will bring great benefits to the north of England. FTPE has delivered a £60m investment in a fleet of electric trains that will start to come into service in a few weeks and will mean a 30% increase in capaCity across our network. Customers will benefit from more journey options, faster trains and better connectivity and accessibility. The procurement of these additional 40 carriages, alongside the North West electrification programme, is a great example of the industry working together and shows our commitment to providing the best possible rail travel for customers now and in the future."

The next major improvements will arrive in December 2014, when electric trains will be able to run from Liverpool to Manchester via Newton le Willows and Wigan and from December 2016, when they will run between Preston and Blackpool, Manchester and Preston and Manchester and Stalybridge. This will be followed by the completion of trans-Pennine electrification from Stalybridge through Huddersfield on to Leeds, York and Selby by December 2018.

Key facts for North West electrification:-

The last significant electrification in England up to now was between Kidsgrove and Crewe, as part of the West Coast Main Line upgrade in 2003.

The stats are as follows:-

Overall cost of North West electrification programme:- £400m
Cost of phase 1 including bridge work:- £60m
Route km electrified:- 24.3km
Track km:- 58km
Number of bridges rebuilt:- 3
Number of bridges where track was lowered:- 5
Number of new foundations for overhead stanchions:- 517
Number of overhead stanchions erected:- 650
Km of overhead copper cable installed:- 118km
Km of aluminium cable installed:- 92km
Electrification distribution sites:- 2

Also did you know that First TransPennine Express will start running direct electric services using 10 new Siemens-built Class 350/4 from Manchester Airport to Glasgow from the 30 December? These new trains will deliver an increase in capaCity of more than 80% on this route. The new 100mph, Class 350/4 trains will each have four carriages and a total of 210 seats, 19 of which will be 1st class.

North West electrification is part of Network Rail's plan for the North of England, which includes the electrification of key rail routes, the £44m project to transform Manchester Victoria station and the building of the Northern Hub which will create space for faster, more frequent trains to connect key Towns and Cities in the North of England.

Appeal after quad bike left in path of oncoming train at Hough Green

"CAN you help to locate vandals who placed a quad bike in the path of an on-coming train?" That's the question being posed by officers from British Transport Police investigating an offence which could have resulted in a serious incident. At about 7am, on Wednesday, 27 November 2013, a train travelling towards Hough Green struck a quad bike which had been left on the tracks.

PC Paul Hevey said:- "The driver of the Northern Rail Lime Street to Oxford Road service saw a man on a green quad bike driving down the tracks. He sounded the horn of the train and the man jumped off the quad bike and ran away up the embankment. Unfortunately the driver wasn't able to stop the train and it collided with the quad bike. Thankfully no-one was injured, but this could have resulted in a much more serious incident; and could have seen the train derailed."

PC Hevey added:- "I am now calling on anyone with information about the incident, or who has information relating to a green quad bike being ridden in the Hough Green area between 6am to 7am on Wednesday, 27 November, to come forward. It is only through good fortune that no-one was harmed and it is vital that we trace the man responsible."

If you can assist officers please call British Transport Police on:- 0800 40 50 40 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on:- 0800 555 111. In all calls please quote log:- NWA/B6 of 9/12/13.

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