A new £78m investment will see the electrification of key rail infrastructure between Wigan and Bolton.
The track between Wigan North Western station and Lostock Junction near Bolton is targeted to complete in 2024/25.
The upgrade will provide 450 new overhead line equipment stations and modification to 17 bridges and two-level crossings.
Platforms will also be extended at Hindley, Westhoughton and Ince stations to reduce overcrowding at peak times and to cater for six-carriage trains in the future.
The government has said that through electrifying almost 13 miles of infrastructure and lengthening platforms, this investment will ensure that polluting diesel trains are replaced by electric rolling stock.
As longer trains with additional capacity, these will provide passengers with greener, more comfortable and reliable journeys.
Chris Heaton-Harris, rail minister, said: ‘As we Build Back Better and create a railway that truly works for passengers, I am delighted to give this rail upgrade the go-ahead.
‘This significant investment will provide a service around Greater Manchester that is better for both passengers and the environment, ensuring our railway plays its part in meeting our ambitious net-zero ambitions.’
Phil James, North-West route director at Network Rail, added: ‘To help the region recover from the pandemic, we’re turning over a new leaf thanks to the £78million investment to electrify the railway between Wigan and Lostock junction.
‘This environmentally and passenger-centric scheme will be a game-changer for Greater Manchester’s railway as more electric trains mean better air quality, less railway noise and more reliable and spacious journeys for rail travellers.’
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Photo by JK