The challenge to widen the second bore of Farnworth tunnel is being met by Fillie the Tunnel Boring Machine!
The two tunnels date from 1838 and 1880. In preparation for electrification, the smaller tunnel has been reinforced with concrete and new signalling installed has allowed bi-directional working on the single line.
The larger tunnel is now to be widened to eventually take two tracks and overhead line equipment. This is being carried out by a huge tunnel boring machine that is being constructed on site. Local school children were asked to name the machine and it has now been christened Fillie.
The work also involves re-sighting one of the Farnworth platforms, lowering a section of track, removing a pedestrian crossing at Kearsley and replacing it with a footbridge and installing new track around Moses Gate. Once completed, an upgraded track speed of 100mph will allow faster journey times between Bolton and Manchester.
Watch a Network Rail video about his project on Youtube by clicking this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w591AQh7DT8
Farnworth, Moses Gate, Kearsley and Clifton stations will be closed throughout the works and a rail replacement bus service will be in operation. A revised rail timetable is in place with a reduced service through the single line section.