I took a trip to Manchester today to see how much progress there has been since my last trip, one month ago.
Starting at Huyton station, building works are in full swing, the old trackbed is being dug out, and they were pouring a new concrete roof for the subway. To my un-trained eye they seemed to making a right dog's breakfast of this simple task, but I'm sure they know what they're doing!
Further along, there are some mast bases and many 'scrapes' for masts.
At Earlestown, the new trackwork and signalling work appears to have ground to a halt, with some points still disconnected and most new signals bagged. Nothing seems to have progressed here for a couple of months.
On to phase one, and I can report that contact wire is now in place on the up and down lines throughout, the gaps I reported last time have all been filled. However, much work remains to be done, many of the droppers are loose or even disconnected, so there's a lot more finishing required before any test train can pass.
After Ordsall Lane Junction (and therefore phase two) there are a large number of peculiar structures either side of the line, consisting of a hole in the ground about the size of a grave, filled with concrete with a smooth flat top. I'm guessing these are the type of mast base required on the viaducts where it's not possible to drive a pile into the ground, although it's odd that there are no fixing bolts.
Manchester Victoria is a major construction site, with scaffolding everywhere. Large signs warn of the Christmas closure "for electrification work".