Electrifying the nearly 13 miles of track, while also lengthening the platforms at stations, will allow for greener and longer electric trains.
The upgrades will be centred on the track Wigan North Western Station and Lostuck Junction near Bolton. It includes installing 450 overhead line equipment stanchions, modifying 17 bridges and two-level crossings. The £78m project will also extend platforms at Hindley, Westhoughton and Ince stations.
Work on the improvements is expected to complete in 2024 or 2025, according to a press release.
“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,” said rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris.
Phil James, the North West route director at Network Rail, called the upgrades a “game changer”.
“More electric trains mean better air quality, less railway noise and more reliable and spacious journeys for rail travellers,” he said.