A detailed study of every structure along the route has been undertaken to see what needs to be done to accommodate the 25kV overhead cables that will provide the traction power.
In total, there are 90 structures on the route, 46 of which will not need any work. This is either because there is already sufficient headroom or because the cables can be installed in such a way as to not need any work. However 44 will need some attention. In some instances, this will mean the bridge can simply be raised up, some will have to be rebuilt and in other locations the track can be lowered, leaving the bridge unaffected. Some bridges will only require work to their parapets.
There is also one short tunnel on the line between Patricroft and Newton-le-Willows through which the track will be lowered.
As well as looking at the various structures, Network Rail has also been looking at the effect the work will have on the signalling along the line, particularly where bridges are rebuilt or the track is lowered. This is so that signals are not obscured from the train driver’s view.
The section from Manchester to Newton-le-Willows is due to be electrified in 2013. In parallel with the Liverpool – Manchester electrification project, work is also under way on three further electrification schemes in the north west, namely:
- The remainder of the Manchester to Liverpool line, plus Huyton to Wigan – due for completion in 2014
- Blackpool to Preston – due for completion in 2015
- Manchester to Euxton Junction (Chorley) – due for completion in 2016.