20 week closure for Holme tunnel upgrade

Cross-Pennine Copy Pit route’s tunnel to see relining and strengthening

Network Rail is starting a programme of work to repair and strengthen the 250m long Holme Tunnel near the village of Holme Chapel, on the Copy Pit route across the Pennines. The work will result in the closure of the railway between Burnley Manchester Road and Todmorden for 20 weeks between November 2013 and March 2014.

Over time, movement of the ground around the tunnel has led to the tunnel lining becoming severely distorted. A 20mph speed restriction is currently in place for trains running through the tunnel, but Network Rail says remedial work is needed to make sure trains can continue to use the tunnel in future.

As well as relining and strengthening sections of the tunnel, allowing the speed limit to be raised to 45mph, Network Rail will also be laying new track, installing improved drainage and rebuilding the severely damaged Todmorden portal.

Network Rail’s contractors will set up a site compound in Holme Chapel starting on 20 May to allow for the enabling works, which are scheduled to run from July to November.

The main tunnel blockade is to run from 9 November 2013 to 30 March 2014. A replacement bus service will operate between Burnley Manchester Road and both Todmorden and Hebden Bridge.

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