TRAIN passengers who use the Ashton line will be forced to use replacement buses while work takes place to provide better journeys between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge, says Network Rail.

Ashton Train Station will be closed as part of the Great North Rail Project when Team Orange will be working to remove a signal box, resignal sections of the railway and remodel the track for 16 days from Saturday April 14 to Sunday April 29.

They say the upgrade will increase the linespeed in the area, helping to provide faster journeys, and renew the signalling system, which will make journeys more reliable.

During the work, Northern services will be replaced by buses between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge. TransPennine Express trains will not run between Manchester Victoria and Liverpool Lime Street, only Manchester Piccadilly. Trains will continue to run from Stalybridge to Manchester Piccadilly station.

Nick Brown, project manager for Network Rail, said: “As part of the Great North Rail Project, this work will help us move towards a more modern railway. Not only are we aiming to improve the line speed but the signalling system at Ashton Moss will be changed so it can be controlled from our state-of-the-art rail operating centre in Manchester.”

Liam Sumpter, regional director for Northern, said: “We’re very sorry for any disruption this vital engineering work will cause for our customers. We are working closely with our partners in the rail industry to help keep people on the move and we will have a robust rail replacement system in place to get our customers where they need to be.”

Customer experience director for TransPennine Express Kathryn O’Brien said: “This essential work will deliver notable enhancements for rail customers across the North.

“There will be changes to our services between Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, York and the North East over the 16 days and customers are encouraged to check and plan their journeys in advance.”

Preparation work will take place in the area over the coming weeks which will not affect services.

Network Rail will be holding community drop-in sessions on March 14 and April 16 at Ashton Cricket Club, in Reyner Lane, Richmond Street, where members of the project team will be on hand to answer any questions residents may have in relation to this work.

Passengers are advised to check before they travel at