Railway's temporary closure 'may speed up upgrade work'

Train users will have to brace themselves for yet more disruption after Network Rail revealed new plans for a new temporary closure.

Wednesday, 27th June 2018, 11:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 27th June 2018, 11:58 am
Network Rial crews installing the overhead wiring for electric trains

The rail infrastructure group said it will shut the Preston Bolton Manchester route for nine days at the end of summer to speed up electrification work.

It will see buses replace trains from August 25 until Sunday September 2 when the line is closed and engineers continuing mid-week overnight working and weekend working until November 4.

It was delayed earlier this year when unforeseen poor ground conditions hampered engineers’ progress installing foundations for masts to carrying overhead power lines.

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The closure will affect just one Blackpool to Manchester route - to Piccadilly - most of the others go via already electrified lines. People travelling from Preston via Chorley to Manchester and vice versa will be worst hit by the move.

Martin Frobisher, managing director for Network Rail’s London and North Western route, said: “I’m sorry for the further short-term disruption that this work will cause, but please don’t lose sight of the long-term improvements which will be delivered.

"In future electric-powered, greener, faster, more frequent, more spacious, trains will become the norm through the Bolton corridor.”

A full electrified trains service is due be in place by December and Network Rail is hoping to speed that with the new closure plan.

Speaking about the reduced services currently in operation following the chaos when the May timetable change came into force he added: “We recognise the May timetable change resulted in poorer service for many customers than it should have done. We are working together with our train company partners to resolve current issues as soon as possible.”

Stephen Brooks, Blackpool-based rail champion said: “It is unfortunate there is going to be a short, temporary shut down but it does not compare to the six months we have already endured and hopefully it will allow them to finish early.”