Diversion and bus replacement as railway bridge is repaired on Preston to Blackpool South line

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Trains will be replaced by buses on the Preston to Blackpool South rail route as major construction work steps up on a Fylde bridge.

Passengers and residents are being reminded of changes to rail services from this weekend as Network rail begins the replacement of the bridge deck at Highbury Road in St Annes as part of the Great North Rail Project to upgrade the railway system.

A Network Rail photograph taken in February showing the removal of the bridge bed at Highfield Road, St Annes

A Network Rail photograph taken in February showing the removal of the bridge bed at Highfield Road, St Annes

Highbury Road has been closed to motorists since January and will reopen on Friday, May 10. Diversion signs have been put up. Pedestrians and cyclists will still be able to cross the railway using a temporary crossing.

The railway between Kirkham and Wesham and Blackpool South will be closed over the next two weekends.

Network Rail said the improvements will make the bridge safer, more reliable and in need of less maintenance in future.

Replacement buses will run between Preston and Blackpool South. The railway between Preston and Blackpool North will remain open at all times.

Kathryn Berry, scheme project manager for Network Rail, said: “This essential refurbishment is part of the Great North Rail Project and will ensure that Highbury Road bridge will remain safe for years to come.

“I apologise for any impact the work will have and would like to thank passengers and local people in advance for their patience.”

Chris Jackson, regional director for Northern, said: “The Great North Rail Project is transforming the railway in the north of England and has provided Blackpool with significant improvements during the past 12 months. This latest phase of work is key to the ongoing improvements and future-proofing of our network in Lancashire.

“I’d like to thank our customers and other local people for their patience and understanding, and call on anyone planning to use Northern services on the affected weekends to carefully check timetables before they travel.”

Passengers can plan and check their journeys at www.nationalrail.co.uk.