Passengers to plan ahead as 26 days of major upgrades in Stalybridge get underway

Passengers travelling between Manchester and Leeds are being reminded to plan ahead as the Transpennine Route Upgrade pushes ahead with its biggest piece of work so far.
Date 23.02.23

From Saturday 11 March to Wednesday 5 April, services between Manchester and Leeds will be diverted via the Calder Valley route, with supporting rail replacement buses on hand to keep passengers on the move. 

Passengers travelling across the Pennines should allow extra time and plan ahead using the National Rail Journey Planner or their train operator’s website. 

Engineers will work around the clock over 26 days to deliver a package of upgrades to the railway line in Stalybridge. This is the largest phase of work delivered by the programme so far and includes remodelling track, installing over 2km of new track and 23 new signals, upgrading 13 crossovers and fitting new overhead line equipment, which will improve journeys along this key route.  

All this forms part of the multi-billion-pound Transpennine Route Upgrade, which is set to revolutionise rail travel in the North, better connecting towns and cities through more frequent, faster trains, running on a cleaner, greener and more reliable railway. 

Hannah Lomas, Industry Programme Director for Transpennine Route Upgrade, said:

“These upgrades at Stalybridge will mark a significant milestone for the entire programme, bringing us one step closer to faster, greener and more reliable journeys across the North of England. 

“We have worked closely with train operators on the route, Northern and TransPennine Express, to make sure that there is a robust plan in place to keep passengers on the move. There will be rail diversions and a mix of express and stopping rail replacement buses between Manchester and Huddersfield, so we’re asking passengers to plan ahead and check before travelling.” 

Chris Nutton, Major Projects Director for TransPennine Express, said:

“These upgrade works are a vital step towards delivering faster, more reliable and sustainable services between Manchester and York.  

“Whilst the engineering work takes place around Stalybridge there will be a number of changes to TransPennine Express services across our network – and we’d advise our customers to check carefully for the latest advice before they travel on our website Updates will also be available on our social media channels. Our teams across from across the industry will be on hand at stations to assist customers with their journeys.” 

Rob Warnes, Strategic Development Director for Northern, said:

We’d like to thank our customers for their patience whilst Stalybridge station is closed for this work. These upgrades will pave the way for Northern to run faster, greener electric trains to Stalybridge in the future. We’re working hard to keep our customers moving throughout the duration of the closure, and we’d like to remind customers to check before they travel.” 

Additional preparation work will also take place on weekends before and after the 26 days, including on 25/26 February, 4/5 March, 15/16 April, 22/23 April, 29/30 April and 20/21 May. Passengers should check before they travel for the latest updates. 

Following completion of this phase of work, trains will be able to move through Stalybridge station faster and more reliably. This is just one component of the wider Transpennine Route Upgrade, which will electrify the whole route between Manchester and York via Huddersfield and Leeds, bringing the line into the 21st century with 70 miles of fully electric, digital railway. 



Detailed travel information 

Rail replacement buses will keep passengers moving between Manchester Piccadilly and Huddersfield, Manchester Airport and Huddersfield via Stockport, and Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge. Trains between Marsden and Leeds via Huddersfield will run as normal, calling at all intermediate stations. 


Trains between Southport/Wigan North Western and Stalybridge will start/finish at Manchester Victoria. 

Rail replacement buses will run between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge. 

TransPennine Express: 

No trains will run via Stalybridge.  

A limited service will run on alternative routes between: 

  • Liverpool Lime Street – Manchester Victoria – Leeds – York – Newcastle
  • Manchester Victoria – Leeds – York – Saltburn
  • Marsden – Huddersfield – Leeds (calling at all stations)

Replacement buses will run between: 

  • Huddersfield and Manchester Piccadilly (fast and stopping) 
  • Huddersfield and Manchester Airport via Stockport

Industrial action 

Strike action has been announced by the RMT on the following dates:  

  • Thursday 16 March 
  • Saturday 18 March 
  • Thursday 30 March 
  • Saturday 1 April 

Passengers are advised to check before travelling via the National Rail Journey Planner or their train operator’s website. For more information visit Industrial action – Network Rail.