The Hope Valley line improvements are nearing completion following significant track and signalling work completed this weekend, as team HVRU battled through harsh weather to deliver the upgrades.
The work is part of a scheme to improve the reliability of passenger journeys travelling between Manchester and Sheffield.
Between Stockport and New Mills, a new signalling system covering over 13 miles of track was commissioned into service.
A total of 12 signals were installed to improve the line speed capability for trains, marking the completion of upgrades along this section of the line.
Towards Sheffield, 380m of track was installed in Grindleford, including 1850 tonnes of ballast and 430 sleepers.
The first set of stairs was also lifted in for a new, accessible footbridge at Dore & Totley station to connect the structure to the existing platform.
Graeme Whitehead, Senior Sponsor for the Hope Valley Railway Upgrade, said: “This was an important weekend for the scheme as we installed new track and carried out both signalling upgrades and further platform works at Dore & Totley.
“It brings us another step closer to improving the connectivity of Manchester and Sheffield and realising the benefits for passengers travelling by train.”
The rail improvements are being delivered for Network Rail by a joint venture of VolkerRail and Story Contracting.
Jim Goldsby, Project Director from VolkerRailStory JV, said: “It’s been a successful weekend on the project where the team reacted well to challenges created by difficult weather conditions.
“We’re pleased with the progress of work so far and are looking forward to completing the scheme over the coming months.”
The work was carried out during the first of four successive weekend railway line closures throughout January and February.
Chris Nutton, Major Projects Director at TransPennine Express, said: “The work on the Hope Valley line is another key milestone in upgrading the railway in the North. The major improvements we will see come to life in the coming weeks are vital for the delivery of more reliable services for our customers between Manchester and Sheffield.
“While these works are being carried out, we will be operating an amended timetable on our South route services between Liverpool Lime Street and Cleethorpes and diverting some trains between Manchester Piccadilly and Sheffield. Where this isn’t possible, rail replacement buses will run to keep you moving. We’d like to advise customers to check before they travel.”
The next three weekends will see the final upgrades continue in Grindleford and Dore & Totley, before a 9-day railway line closure at the end of March will enable the project’s completion.
Image credit: Network Rail