In the early hours of this morning (22 February) Network Rail completed test runs for a new electrified railway between Manchester and Preston.
The testing is part of preparations for the arrival of 100mph trains which are due to be in service by May.
Engineers made their final high-speed inspections to the track and new overhead lines in the early hours of this morning while on-board the test train from Preston to Manchester Victoria.
Electric trains can currently travel up to 75mph along the line, but once testing is complete the speed limit will rise to 100mph.
Commenting on the landmark achievement, Mark Ashton, sponsor for Network Rail, thanked residents for their patience while upgrades to the line were made.
“Following the successful introduction of electric passenger trains on the Manchester to Preston railway last week, last night we completed our last test as part of the project to allow trains to run up to 100mph,” he added. “High speed testing of the overhead wires will support the introduction of greener, faster and more frequent trains - a key aim of the Great North Rail Project to help transform rail travel across the north."
The results of the tests will now be thoroughly checked before being verified by the Office of Rail and Road, after which 100mph services can run on the route when new timetables come into effect in May.
This morning’s final test was part of the organisation’s attempts to transform northern rail infrastructure and improve services through electrification of routes.
Last May, the first electric train travelled to and from Blackpool as part of tests for new infrastructure along the 17-mile route between Blackpool North and Preston. The milestone journey followed 22 weeks of work to upgrade the tracks, station platforms and signalling system.