The rail line between Blackpool and Preston is on course to hit its target of being electrified by 2016 – providing faster and more frequent train services.
It comes after Network Rail announced the first part of the huge project has been completed on time.
Electric trains have started to operate over the railway between Newton Le Willows and Castlefield junction, outside Manchester Piccadilly, marking the commissioning of the first phase of the £400m North West electrification project.
The project will see more than 350km of track upgraded across the north of England delivered by December 2018. The track between Preston and Blackpool is set to be completed by May 2016.
Dyan Crowther, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “Electrification of key routes in the North West will significantly improve connections between our major towns and cities, boosting the economy and providing passengers with quicker, cleaner and more frequent services provide the railway that the region’s passengers want and its economy needs.”