Series of Greater Manchester railway upgrades to bring disruption over next few weekends

Passengers are being urged to "plan ahead".

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 10th January 2024

Passengers are being urged to check before they travel while several “essential” upgrades take place on major Greater Manchester railway lines.

In a bid to reduce the future risk of flooding, and also to improve the reliability of the railway link between the Greater Manchester borough of Bolton, and in and around Manchester city centre, a series of maintenance works have now got underway, and will continue to take place over the next four weekends.

This means that, every weekend from now up until Sunday 4 February, bus replacement services will be in place at all railway stations between Bolton, Salford Crescent, Salford Central, Manchester Piccadilly, and Manchester Victoria.

The bus replacement services will remain in place while vital drainage upgrades are completed in response to the recent storms, Network Rail has confirmed.

Because of this, anyone looking to travel by train between these stations is advised to “plan ahead”.


Some of the “essential upgrades” being carried out include a total of 1,404 metres of new drainage pipes being laid, and six-foot trenches being dug to help better manage water levels, and “keep passengers and freight on the move”.

During the weekend closures of the line, Northern has been put in charge of organising the bus replacement services between Bolton and Manchester Piccadilly.


Trains from Blackpool North and Preston will divert via Wigan, and services from Windermere and Barrow-in-Furness will start and terminate at Bolton, while TransPennine Express services between Scotland and Manchester Airport will start and end at Preston.

Network Rail has apologised to affected passengers for “inconvenience to their journeys”.

Series of Greater Manchester railway upgrades to bring disruption over next few weekends / Credit: Network Rail

Speaking as the railway upgrades got underway this past weekend, Tom Carrington, who is the Project Manager at Network Rail, said: “We are very sorry to weekend passengers travelling between Bolton and Manchester for the inconvenience to their journeys while we put in a better drainage system to future proof the railway from heavy rainfall experienced during recent storm events.


“While journeys can still take place between Bolton and Manchester via bus replacement services, and from Preston and Blackpool with train services diverting through Wigan, it’s important passengers know their travel options first.”

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Passengers are urged to check before they travel by heading to the National Rail website here.

Featured Image – Network Rail