Network Railis seeking a contractor to carry out major improvement works on the Hope Valley line which will form the “early building blocks” for £1bn of rail improvements across the north.
The track operator has put out a prior information notice asking for interested parties to apply for further information.
The scheme on the Hope Valley railway line between Manchester and Sheffield involves building new passing loops around the Bamford and Dore sections of the line enabling more trains to run and increasing passenger and freight capacity.
Plans for the line include building a new section of track alongside the existing railway to the east of Bamford station to create a passing loop, which will allow faster passenger services to overtake slow moving freight trains.
At Dore, Network Rail plans to extend the existing Dore South Curve section of track, between West View Lane and Dore South Junction, to allow enough standing room for freight trains. This will then allow passenger services to pass without a waiting freight train blocking either the Hope Valley or Midland Main Lines.
A second track serving Dore and Totley station will be created and a new platform constructed. This will be accessed by a new footbridge and lifts.
A Transport & Works Act Order (TWAO) for the scheme, which is seen as a key enabler for the Northern Powerhouse Rail route upgrade, was granted by the Department for Transport (DfT) in February last year.
At the time, Transport for the North said it was pressing for the release of funds for the detailed design work during 2018/9, with a view to starting on site in April this year.
A Network Rail spokesperson said: “The Hope Valley improvement scheme forms part of the Great North Rail Project to help transform passengers journeys between Sheffield and Manchester.
“We are working with the DfT to develop designs for the scheme and are liaising with our supply chain to plan this work. This process, for a project of this size and complexity, is expected to take two years.”
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