Network Rail, Northern and TransPennine Express have announced a £1m package of improvements at Bolton station, where passengers have been heavily hit by over-running engineering works over the last two years.
Over the coming months, new signage and seating will be fitted at the station, with toilets and waiting rooms being refurbished, pigeon netting fitted to aid cleanliness, while the under-used Victorian building on platforms four and five will be revamped, potentially to be used for retail or community use.
The electrification of the Manchester-Preston line began in 2015 and was originally scheduled to finish late the following year, but the project has been beset by delays, with the collapse of Carillion one of the factors blamed.
The Manchester-Preston upgrade is a key part of the Great North Rail project, and has involved the widening and rebuilding of Farnworth tunnel, the remodelling of tracks and platforms through Chorley and Bolton stations, the renewal of 13,883m of track, replacement of 93 signals, and the laying of 236,000m of cables. Bolton station was fully closed for a period.
Final testing is due to take place in February and new services rolled out in summer.
Amy Clare, associate sponsor at Network Rail, said: “The Manchester-Preston line upgrade is almost complete. This will allow faster, more frequent, more reliable electric trains to run from May onwards.
“In addition to that, the rail industry is investing a further £1m to make things fresher and nicer for train customers at Bolton. We hope station users notice the difference.”
The transport organisations said that over the last few months they have met with local community groups to identify opportunities to enhance the passenger experience at Bolton station, leading to the pooling of funding streams to bring forward the refurbishment plans.
Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern, said: “These fantastic improvements at Bolton station will go hand-in-hand with our own plans which, in the very near future, will see the introduction of brand new trains serving the town – and beyond.
“We are also investing millions in improvements at stations meaning that wherever you travel on a Northern train you will enjoy a better journey than ever before.”
Cllr David Chadwick, portfolio holder for transport at Bolton council, said: “These proposals complement the £100m investment in the town centre by Bolton Council and £48m by TfGM.
“Investment in Bolton is at a well-deserved high and Network Rail’s contribution will hopefully enhance the customer experience at the station. Many of the existing platform facilities are in need of urgent upgrade. This is great news for the town.”