North West Project of the Year & Health & Safety Award Winner

Winner: Farnworth Tunnel

Client:                                                   Network Rail Infrastructure Projects
Contractor:                                         J Murphy and Sons Ltd
Collaborative Delivery Partner:     Buckingham Contracting

The North West Project of the Year Award is given to the project that best demonstrates the highest levels of technical achievement, innovation, application of best practice, team working throughout the supply chain and, most importantly, to the customer’s delight.

The £20.8m Farnworth Tunnel project is part of Network Rail’s £1bn+ investment in the railway to provide faster more frequent train services improving connections to towns and cities across the north of England.

To support the electrification of the route between Manchester and Preston via Bolton we needed to reconstruct Farnworth Tunnel. This was to accommodate the larger trains and overhead lines needed to power them. This project required the internal diameter of one of the tunnel bores to be increased, resulting in the first bored tunnel that Network Rail have constructed directly since the inter war years. With a 9m diameter, the tunnel is the largest on the UK rail Network, larger than those constructed for Crossrail and the Channel Tunnel.

To ensure we caused minimal interruptions to passengers, phasing and methodology for the scheme ensured we kept train services running alongside the work, on one of the busiest commuter’s lines in the NW.

All works were planned hand in hand with the Train Operating Companies to ensure the project was delivered effectively at all levels.

The £20.8m project was further complicated by the fact that the A666, a 4 lane commuter route into Manchester runs directly over the tunnel. Works are now complete and trains are now back to timetable. The project exceeded 200,000 man hours without any injuries.


Farnworth tunnel 2    Farnworth tunnel 1