Wigan to Bolton electrification officially given go ahead

GRALISTAIR

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Green light given for Wigan to Bolton electrification | Mirage News


Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris has today (1 September 2021) announced that a major upgrade to the railway line between Wigan and Bolton has been given the green light, focused on providing passengers with a greener and more reliable railway.

And from GOV.UK ----


Major upgrade, including electrification and longer electric trains, to railway line between Wigan and Bolton announced.

MASTER PINNED THREAD UPDATED IN RELEVANT PLACES

Original now locked thread from a few years back posted for reference
 
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edwin_m

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Good news, and surprising they've actually announced it considering the "stealth" approach being applied to Market Harborough and Church Fenton.

Looking at the time of the post and the date of the announcement, Chris H-H must be an insomniac like me...
 

Snow1964

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From Government Press Release, also includes 6car platforms
The track between Wigan North Western station and Lostock Junction near Bolton will receive a £78 million upgrade, targeted to complete in 2024/2025.

The upgrade project will provide 450 new overhead line equipment stanchions, and modifications to 17 bridges and two-level crossings. Platforms will also be extended at Hindley, Westhoughton and Ince stations to reduce overcrowding at peak times and cater for six-carriage trains in the future.

The project provides train operators with more operational flexibility to deploy trains to these parts of Wigan and Bolton from the recently upgraded train maintenance facility at Wigan Springs Branch.

 
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hwl

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From Government Press Release, also includes 6car platforms







Nothing on rolling stock, but I am guessing plan is to use pairs of (currently 29 year old) class 323s surplus from West Midlands
It depends how quickly Man Vic - Stalybridge is completed...

Given a number of services west of Wigan are also involved then a mix of 323s, 331s and 769s will be on the cards.
 

Snow1964

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It depends how quickly Man Vic - Stalybridge is completed...

Given a number of services west of Wigan are also involved then a mix of 323s, 331s and 769s will be on the cards.

Wonder what length the extended platforms will be
Pair of 331s is 143m
Pair of 769s is 159m

It does say to aid fleet flexibility so excluding one type would be rather daft.
 

daodao

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Welcome news.

I wonder if the originally slated Wigan - Stalybridge/Alderley Edge electric services will finally run when this is completed. Platform extensions along the route are also nice. I wonder if this means those stops will be taken out of Southport services and served by the new electric service instead. No mention of Wigan bound platforms at Lostock or where the 769s will do their power changeover though.

The government announcement refers to electrification of the track between Wigan North Western station and Lostock Junction, but makes no mention of the train services planned to use this soon-to-be electrified line. I assume that it is not intended to electrify the tracks through Wigan Wallgate station, so any new electric train services on this route would presumably be terminating at Wigan North Western. As further discussion on services would be speculative, I have created a new thread in the speculative section of the forum to discuss possible service alterations.

https://www.railforums.co.uk/thread...fication-possible-changes-to-services.221872/
 
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YorkshireBear

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Great and unexpected news this morning.

Can't help but feel positive at the moment. Several small schemes on the go which are just nicely plodding along. Formal announcement here of what I would deem a small project. Nothing grand, lower risk. This route also won't start from scratch, they had developed it relatively far before it was paused so hopefully no nasty surprises.

The government had said expect announcements in autumn so maybe there will be more. But I won't hold my breath.
 

M60lad

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Now the go ahead has been given how long will it take to electrify the line and how soon could work start on the project and how often will closures be needed?
 

Watershed

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Is there any plans for Crows Nest Jn to Salford Crescent?
I'd have thought it would make sense to upgrade the linespeed and signalling there before electrifying. It's tortuously slow and has very high headways. But no, I've not heard of any firm proposals to electrify it.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Presumably Southport-bound 769s will drop/raise the pan at Ince, giving 9 more miles of electric working from Bolton.
On Trackmaps, Ince already has 6-car platforms and Hindley and Westhoughton 5-car, so the platform extensions don't look too significant.

If we are being critical, I guess this is the simplest scheme to authorise to address the "red wall" and climate change agendas and the north's demands generally.
One hopes it is the first of several such announcements.
A pity he couldn't have announced Oxenholme-Windermere while he was at it.
But at least the ghost of Chris Grayling is laid.
Will this stretch be the acid test of NR's cost control?
 

alangla

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If we are being critical, I guess this is the simplest scheme to authorise to address the "red wall"

A pity he couldn't have announced Oxenholme-Windermere while he was at it.
Lib Dem… (Tim Farron)
Would it be cynical to suggest that the party of the MP and national park NIMBYs might be why this dead simple scheme that should have been done in 1974 still hasn’t happened?
 

Ianno87

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I'd have thought it would make sense to upgrade the linespeed and signalling there before electrifying. It's tortuously slow and has very high headways. But no, I've not heard of any firm proposals to electrify it.

Makes not much sense to electrify unless combined with Calder Valley and/or Southport/Kirkby, really.
 

175001

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Good news.

Of course, the best thing would be to cut the Alderley Edge service back to Wigan North Western, to make it purely EMU.

Send the Southports via Atherton, you'll upset some retired MP up there or something but it'll be the best option.
 

ic31420

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I read it as electrification between Lostock Jcn (Bolton) and Wigan NORTH WESTERN and not Wallgate thus avoiding the need to deal with the knackered now bridge / shops / station over the railway just outside Wallgate. Thus now electric services into Wallgate.

How much capacity does NWesten have for extra services ?

Presumably stock moves from Spring Branch Depot will have to reverse in North Western
 

175001

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An extract from 2013 when it was first announced..

"The line from Wigan North Western station and Bolton’s Lostock Junction will be upgraded. The full cost of the project is estimated at £37m and is due to be complete by 2017, to allow faster and more reliable services for the area."

Quite the jump from the initial £37m to £78m...
 

C J Snarzell

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No, but it's the territory of Labour's Lisa Nandy and Andy Burnham (Metro Mayor), so it will blunt some of their criticism of transport and "levelling up" policies.

For anyone on this forum who lives in or near Wigan, they will know that hundreds of thousands of pounds is being pumped into building cycling lanes across Wigan borough. The Saddle junction at Newtown all there way up to the motorway junction at Marus Bridge is being turned into a crazy golf course that no cyclist is even using!!!! All they have done is narrow arterial roads and make them a little bit more congested with vehicles than they were before.

I believe the cycling projects are being funded by the TfGM and not the Council - it is all part of Burnham's ten year plan to make Greater Manchester a carbon cleaner environment where people will be encouraged to use public transport or make more journeys on foot or bicycle. I understand from May next year (2022), there will also be a kind of congestion charge on larger vehicles entering central Manchester.

The TfGM have some good initiatives, but sadly the cycle lane project across Wigan is a white elephant where government money is being wasted and would be better served elsewhere to improve rail services across the region.

CJ
 

Watershed

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I read it as electrification between Lostock Jcn (Bolton) and Wigan NORTH WESTERN and not Wallgate thus avoiding the need to deal with the knackered now bridge / shops / station over the railway just outside Wallgate. Thus now electric services into Wallgate.

How much capacity does NWesten have for extra services ?
Wigan North Western platform 1 is free most of the day - it's only used for a handful of peak services, services which start/finish at Springs Branch, and a handful of freight services which are looped.

Platform 3 is used between xx35-xx54 for the Leeds terminator but is otherwise mostly unoccupied. Both of these platforms are non-conflicting with WCML traffic; the only conflict is with northbound trains into Wigan Wallgate, when departing back towards Manchester.

So yes, Wigan North Western has plenty of capacity to accommodate more terminating trains.

Presumably stock moves from Spring Branch Depot will have to reverse in North Western
Yes, in fact they have to reverse twice - once at Springs Branch (the depot exit faces towards the disused line to Boothstown/Tyldesley) and again at North Western. It's not a big issue with Northern's 3/4 minute reversal allowances!
 
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Ianno87

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I read it as electrification between Lostock Jcn (Bolton) and Wigan NORTH WESTERN and not Wallgate thus avoiding the need to deal with the knackered now bridge / shops / station over the railway just outside Wallgate. Thus now electric services into Wallgate.

How much capacity does NWesten have for extra services ?

Presumably stock moves from Spring Branch Depot will have to reverse in North Western

Basically two platforms at North Western (1 and 3), although only 1 can take 6-cars I think.

An extract from 2013 when it was first announced..

"The line from Wigan North Western station and Bolton’s Lostock Junction will be upgraded. The full cost of the project is estimated at £37m and is due to be complete by 2017, to allow faster and more reliable services for the area."

Quite the jump from the initial £37m to £78m...

1) 8 years' worth of inflation... (that's about £8m by itself)

2) Hopefully, the price is "all in" including bridge rebuilds etc that may have been excluded last time.

Platform 3 is used between xx35-xx54 for the Leeds terminator but is otherwise mostly unoccupied. Both of these platforms are non-conflicting with WCML traffic; the only conflict is with northbound trains into Wigan Wallgate, when departing back towards Manchester.

Presumably the Leeds terminator can be diverted to Wallgate or back to Southport again if necessary.
 

The Planner

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I'd have thought it would make sense to upgrade the linespeed and signalling there before electrifying. It's tortuously slow and has very high headways. But no, I've not heard of any firm proposals to electrify it.
Crow Nest isnt going to get touched for a long time, it was only resignaled in 2013.
 

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