03 February 2016



Scroll down to view enlargements


Photos & Text courtesy Network Rail Media Centre


Click below to view YouTube film uploaded by Network Rail

re: the rebuild of Farnworth tunnel


Passengers were reminded today to allow extra time for their journeys

over the next two weekends

when the line between Bolton and Manchester shuts

so engineers can finish work on the newly enlarged Farnworth Tunnel.


As part of Network Rail's Railway Upgrade Plan, Farnworth Tunnel, near Bolton,

has been enlarged to accommodate two electrified lines.

On Monday 14 December, a full timetable was restored between Bolton and Manchester


- but a speed restriction, which allowed trains to continue running during the upgrade,

remained in place.


To complete the job and allow speed restrictions to be lifted,

Network Rail needs to use specialist equipment requiring the line to be shut to trains.


A two-stage solution, which minimises the impact on customers,

was agreed by the Network Rail and train companies Trans-Pennine Express and Northern Rail:

two weekend closures on 23 and 24, and 30 and 31 January.



Nick Spall, Route Delivery Director at Network Rail, said:


“Farnworth Tunnel is an extremely complex engineering scheme in our Railway Upgrade Plan.

These closures will give us the opportunity to remove the temporary track layout that was installed

to enable train services to continue running while we rebuilt Farnworth Tunnel.


Once this has happened, we can remove the speed restriction

and train services will be back to normal again.


“Over the next two weekends we're asking customers to bear with us

and allow extra time for their journeys.


I would like to thank passengers and local residents for their patience throughout the project.”


We are encouraging all customers to check their journey before they travel

to see if their journey will be impacted by these works.”



Alex Hynes, Managing Director for Northern Rail, said:


”These final two weekends of work are the definitive pieces of the Farnworth Tunnel scheme,

which will go on to enable future electrification in the region.


Our services will return to line speed

and we can start planning for a new and exciting phase of electrification in the North West.


Our customers and staff have been fantastic throughout this project

and we'd like to thank them for their continued support.”




First TransPennine Express Interim Managing Director Liz Collins said:


"It's great to see the Farnworth Tunnel upgrade nearing completion.


We know it's been a frustrating time for our customers and staff,

while these essential works are carried out


and we apologise for the further inconvenience to customers over the next two weekends

with our services between Manchester and Preston being amended.


We are encouraging all customers to check their journey before they travel

to see if their journey will be impacted by these works.”



Track being laid at Farnworth Tunnel



Track Work after completion



A Northern Rail train passing through Farnworth Tunnel

(courtesy of Graeme Bickerdike)


Return to Top of Page

Return to RVR Home Page