5 minute read – Better subway and ticket barriers for Rochdale rail passengers

Improvements to Rochdale station have taken place ahead of major railway upgrades in central Manchester this summer.

A £100,000 Great North Rail Project investment has seen Network Rail strengthen the station subway’s steel and concrete ceiling which holds the track and platforms above.

The underpass below has also been repainted to welcome passengers travelling between York, Leeds and Manchester. 

In the coming weeks £30,000 accessible ticket barriers will be installed for wheelchair users, families with prams or people with heavy luggage.  

This is ahead of closures between Stalybridge and Manchester Victoria, and Rochdale and Manchester Victoria, from 31 July to 15 August, as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) when railway bridges will be replaced and track upgraded. 

Passengers are being urged to plan their journeys in advance at www.nationalrail.co.uk

Karen Hornby, head of customer relations and performance for the North West at Network Rail, said: “Our £130,000 subway makeover and ticket barrier improvements are part of the Greater Manchester stations’ accessibility plan to provide better and safer travel for passengers using Rochdale station. 

“Further improvements on the Calder Valley line are planned as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) with a major milestone taking place later this summer to upgrade track and railway bridges in central Manchester. Passengers looking to travel between 31 July and 15 August are being urged to plan ahead.”

Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern, said: “The completed work looks fantastic and is a great example of the rail industry working together to improve the regions railways.

“Thank you to our customers for their continued patience. We are sorry for any disruption during the improvements and our customers can be assured that both Northern and Network Rail will do everything possible to minimise the impact of the work and deliver alternatives that keep people on the move.”

Councillor Mark Aldred, chair of the Greater Manchester Transport Committee, said: “The Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) is a really exciting project that will transform the customer experience for train users across Greater Manchester and throughout the north of England.

“From better and more reliable journeys to upgraded stations; whether you catch the train all the time or every now and again, there is a lot to look forward to.

“We know accessibility is a significant barrier at many of our local stations, so we particularly welcome the investment being made at Rochdale and hope it helps open up public transport – especially local rail services – for even more people to enjoy.” 

Improvements are planned Saturday 31 July – Sunday 15 August as part of the TRU. 

TRU is a multi-billion-pound programme of railway upgrades that will radically improve connectivity in the North of England – providing faster, more reliable services for passengers travelling between York, Leeds and Manchester.

For more information on the Transpennine Route Upgrade visit: https://www.networkrail.co.uk/running-the-railway/railway-upgrade-plan/key-projects/transpennine-route-upgrade/

Stretching across the North of England between York and Manchester, via Leeds and Huddersfield, the 76-mile Transpennine railway serves 23 stations, crosses over and dips under 285 bridges and viaducts, passes through six miles of tunnels, and crosses over 29 level crossings.

TRU will transform this line into a high-performing, reliable railway for passengers with greater punctuality, more trains and improved journey times. The scale of the project means that there will be planned disruption to train services to enable work to be carried out, but we are committed to keeping passengers moving on a train as often as possible, on time and in comfort as a key priority.

In July 2020, the government announced £589m of funding to kickstart the programme. A further £317m investment was announced last month, totalling £906m.

Travel advice for the period 31 July and 15 August is as follows:


Passengers travelling Leeds – Manchester Victoria via Todmorden and Rochdale

  • Trains will start/terminate at Moston station.
  • Express buses will run between Rochdale and Manchester Victoria and between Manchester Victoria and Moston*

*there will be no calling buses between Rochdale and Moston

Passengers travelling Ashton-under-Lyne – Manchester

  • Trains will not run, but Metrolink services will be available to/from Manchester Piccadilly (apart from Saturday 14 and Sunday 15August*)

*Metrolink services will not run on the Ashton line on Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 August due to engineering work, but replacement buses will be in place.

Passengers travelling Liverpool Lime Street – Newcastle

  • Trains from Liverpool Lime Street will be diverted to run to/from Manchester Airport via Manchester Piccadilly. Newcastle services will start/terminate at Manchester Piccadilly for onward connections

Passengers travelling Manchester – Leeds/York/Hull/Redcar

  • Trains will divert to/from Manchester Piccadilly only

Passengers travelling Stalybridge – Manchester via Guide Bridge

  • Trains between Leeds (via Huddersfield) and Manchester Piccadilly will divert via Stalybridge and Guide Bridge.
  • Buses will run between Stalybridge, Ashton-under-Lyne and Guide Bridge


Essential maintenance works are taking place across the Metrolink network at the same time to minimise overall disruption to passengers.

  • Between 31 July and 9 August, 14 – 16 August and 21 – 23 August, no services will operate through Victoria.
  • In addition, the Metrolink Eccles line will be closed between 19 July and 1 August and there will be additional changes to some services while work is carried out near to Piccadilly Gardens between 31 July and 6 August.
  • A bus replacement service will be in operation and additional staff will be out across the network to help customers.