Work is underway to deliver major upgrades in and around Bolton railway station.
The railway line between Manchester and Preston is being upgraded to allow more frequent train services to run which will mean better journeys for customers in Bolton.
The station itself is being improved and will be directly linked to Bolton’s bus network, creating an interchange for bus, train and cyclists – making it easier to leave the car at home and travel door to door on public transport.
Work is well underway on a new transport interchange, adjacent to the station, that will replace the current bus station on Moor Lane and, once complete, will provide public transport users with a seamless link between bus and rail services via a fully enclosed Skylink bridge.
When complete, in mid-2017, the interchange – a £48m scheme in conjunction with Bolton Council – will provide a modern, high quality facility for bus passengers, enhanced connectivity between bus and rail services, as well as creating an attractive gateway to the town centre.
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: “We’re really looking forward to opening Bolton’s new interchange next year. I’m sure passengers will be extremely impressed by the modern, spacious waiting area which will include electronic passenger information, a café, retail facilities, accessible public toilets and a cash machine.
"By offering these enhanced facilities, we hope more people will choose public transport for their journeys - and bring their bikes as the interchange will also have a brand new cycle hub.”
Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Cliff Morris, added: “The interchange will provide an up-to-date modern facility, and commuters and residents will really feel the benefit, together with all of the other transport improvements taking place. The interchange along with the Bolton Central office development and the investment in Newport Street will transform the south of the town centre.”
To complement this work, Network Rail is delivering major improvement work at Bolton station is a vital part of its upgrade of the railway between Manchester and Preston. The scheme is being delivered as part of a £1bn+ investment across the north of England and will allow faster, more frequent electric trains to run through the station. Work will include a link to the bus interchange via a new Skylink bridge, allow for more services and reinstate a platform that was taken out of use in the early 1990s.
Once complete the extra platform, together with other improvements to the railway in the region, will enable faster, more frequent train services to run.
Terry Strickland, area director for Network Rail said: “We are investing heavily in Bolton as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan to provide passengers with the railway that will meet their needs for many decades to come and help boost the economy across the north of England.
“This upgrade work will mean a better, more reliable railway for passengers. To deliver it, significant engineering is required to improve the track layout, rebuild platforms and make space for new equipment to power electric trains in Bolton. We are also reinstating platform 5 to allow more trains to run between Manchester and Preston.”
“To bring platform 5 back in to use, we need to rebuild the platform and reinstate the track on land that is currently used for car parking. The additional platform is vital to our Railway Upgrade Plan on this route and will help to create better journeys for passengers in Bolton.”
This development work will go hand-in-hand with ambitious multi-million pound plans to modernise Northern’s rail services in Greater Manchester. Northern is refurbishing all the trains and carriages on its network and, in a move that will see all Pacers removed by 2020, is introducing 281 new, purpose built carriages.
Northern also has plans to modernise Bolton railway station itself and has begun this programme with the introduction of automated gatelines which help to improve security and encourage all customers to hold a valid ticket before they board trains. In the coming weeks and months there will be further work at the station to improve lighting, refresh paintwork and make the general environment more welcoming.
Liam Sumpter, Regional Director for Northern, said: “We made a commitment to improve rail services for all customers, and the proposed improvements at Bolton – which are already taking shape following the introduction of the gatelines – are just one way in which we are delivering on that commitment.
“Of course, there is more work to be done and we are improving the carriages on our network, introducing new carriages and developing stations as part of a modernisation scheme that will, when complete, deliver a railway fit for the 21st Century.
“But this work cannot be done in isolation and we are delighted to be working closely with Network Rail, TfGM and Bolton Council to provide customers in Bolton with a full integrated public transport system.”
The next phase of the ambitious multi-agency plans will see the closure of the current unofficial car park off Orlando Street. The permanent closure, which will come into effect from Tuesday, 24 January, is necessary to allow work to take place on the reinstatement of platform five.