Tests have been conducted on the now-electrified railway between Manchester and Preston, as part of checks to ensure the line is ready for new services later this year.
It is part of Network Rail’s move towards electrification, making rail lines much more efficient.
By using overhead line equipment to accelerate electrification, passengers and business users will find much improved services; the new technology will ensure that more trains are able to run on the tracks at the same time, increasing frequency of services.
The electrified railway will allow for electric high speed trains on the upgraded route, resulting in faster and more frequent trains – all thanks to the Great North Rail Project.
At the present time, electric trains can travel at speeds of 75mph along the electrified line.
However, testing will ensure this speed is increased by a quarter – once again increasing the number of services.
Mark Ashton, sponsor for Network Rail, said: “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 100mph trains will be checked and approved by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), ready in time for timetable changes in May.
In a further move towards electrification, a key milestone was achieved on the Shotts Line project, which saw the first electric train – the Class 86 electric locomotive – run on the route for the first time.
This included a number of test runs along the electrified sections between Holytown and Midcalder junctions, which has succeeded in creating a fifth electrified route between the two main cities of Scotland.
The need for electrification and emerging technologies is huge and the government’s decarbonisation plans for the railway by 2040 will only serve to accelerate the use of these technologies.