Westhoughton Train Station is undergoing a huge transformation as part of a national electrification project, which will also see major additional upgrades to the station.

Network Rail is investing £78m to upgrade a six-mile stretch of railway between Wigan and Bolton to enable electric trains to serve the key North West towns in the future.

Following on from a meeting with ward councillor Cllr Martin Tighe, and the volunteer group Friends of Westhoughton Station, they have now secured further upgrades to the existing platform, including a full resurfacing, repainting, and inclusion of tactile paving for safety.

Initially work had only been agreed to extend the platforms and cut back large over-hanging trees.

Cllr Tighe said: “This is a major upgrade to Westhoughton Station bringing it into the wider electrification of the network plan and providing additional much needed shelter and seating to station.

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“As a councillor and for residents it is fantastic, especially the safety features which are very much needed and is in line with the times when it comes to the electrification.

“And as a resident and user of the train, I have seen the use grow.

“It will mean that we have more modern trains than we have now, and we are going in the right direction at the right pace.”

Cllr Tighe also says that they are seeking to upgrade shelters and extra seating along platform one, and in phase two they are hoping to secure better inclusive access for wheelchairs and disabled passengers.

Cllr Tighe said: “At the moment, the station doesn’t have any real safety features other than a handrail to the road and platform.

“As well as tactile paving, this will include yellow lines on the platform edge and the platforms will be lengthened to allow bigger electric trains to pass through.

The Bolton News: “There will be more inclusive access for wheelchair users or anyone with a mobility disability.”

The friends group have secured help with the removal of unwanted fixtures which will be replaced, and a commitment from Network Rail to help improve the large grass verges on the platform.

Cllr Tighe said: “Network Rail are going to have to remove tons of trees because of the overhead power cables, because they cannot have any trees which are overhanging over the lines.

“It will drastically change the way the station looks.”

The friends group are also working with Network Rail to help keep or get some new greenery and garden space there.

Chair of the friends group Stephen Freeborn has been working on the station for about 12 years and is “very pleased” to see all the work going into the station.

The Bolton News: He said: “The Friends of Westhoughton Station are very pleased to see such effort going into the station from network rail and Kier contractors.

“The work to tidy the overhanging vegetation has already begun.

“The friends with the help of Kier are storing away the fairy garden models and anything else that might get damaged as the electrification work continues.”

There will also be a series of big volunteer days taking place to help with the clean-up, where anyone is welcome to get involved.

Network Rail have also agreed to put a small pod style toilet at Westhoughton Station.

Work started on Monday although some work has been taking place in the background and, so far, there has been no disruption.

Replacement buses are in operation for the next two weekends, which could cause delays to people’s journeys.

There is industrial action planned, which may also cause some disruption.

Trains are scheduled as normal from Saturday, February 17.

Electrifying the route will complement the electrified railway line between Preston, Bolton and Manchester which was completed in 2019.

It will also provide a further electrified route between Manchester and Preston.

Electrification work is targeted to be completed by 2025, with electric trains running by this point.

If you have a story and something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at jasmine.jackson@newsquest.co.uk or DM me on Twitter @JournoJasmine.