TONY MILES talks to Network Rail about the troubled wiring project finally reaching completion

Electrification has been a challenging task over the past few years. And while the Great Western project has stolen many of the headlines, no less difficult for Network Rail has been the Manchester to Preston via Bolton project. Initially due for completion by December 2016, the first electric train finally ran in test mode in the early hours of 13 December 2018. Passengers on the route will have noticed the almost confusing array of overhead line masts and portals and their method of installation. There are even variations in the way the stanchions are fixed in place, from simple driven steel piles and small concrete bases to quite significant concrete rafts. These provide a clear illustration of the challenges faced by Network Rail and its contractors as they encountered huge variations in the quality and state of the ground they were working on, but also go some way to explaining the delay.


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