£45m West Coast Main Line signals investment upgrade from Network Rail

UK rail company Network Rail have made a £45m ($64.2m USD) investment in the Great North Rail Project in a mass technology upgrade endeavour which will see 56 signals between Congleton, Macclesfield and Prestbury controlled in a single state of the art control centre based in Manchester.

Project Manager for Network Rail, Ian Robinson said: “This once in a generation overhaul of Macclesfield’s signalling system will bring this key section of the West Coast main line up to the most modern standards. The £45m Great North Rail Project investment will future proof journeys and create a more reliable railway for passengers and freight services.

“Before our work in Macclesfield begins, we’ve invited local people to speak with us - I’d like to thank our neighbours and passengers in advance for their patience.”

The major investment is set to develop the future in journeys in the region for both passengers and freight alike in what’s deemed as one of Europe’s busiest mixed-use rail routes. Work on the project is expected to take a total of 17 months from commencement in July. Overnight track possessions and weekend work will minimise disruption.

Along with the signalling upgrades additional work on power sources and electrical cabling will be part of the major transformation. Two structures carrying overhead lines that power the trains are also being changed to enhance the visibility of signals for train drivers.

Executive Director of Operations and Safety at Avanti West Coast, Gus Dunster said: “We’re excited that Network Rail are upgrading the signalling system on a key section of our Manchester route as part of their Great North Rail Project. Once complete, the works will help to make journeys on the West Coast main line more reliable for many years to come.”

CrossCountry Regional Director West Midlands and North West, John Robson said: “This investment in better technology is vital in keeping passengers and trains moving for years to come. Having more reliable services means a better customer experience and more consistency when travelling through the area.”

MP for Macclesfield, David Rutley said: “It’s good to see this major investment being made to upgrade signalling equipment on this important railway line which will make services more reliable for passengers… I would encourage local people to find out more about the project and keep up to date with developments in the coming months.”