Passengers warned of weekend rail closures

Work is being carried out at Poulton
Work is being carried out at Poulton
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Passengers are being advised to always plan their journeys as the next phase of the major work to upgrade the railway between Preston and Blackpool gets under way.

A total of £1bn is being spent to upgrade and electrify the railways across the north west.

The next phase will see works on the line between Poulton-Le-Fylde and Salwick to prepare the way for the installation of overhead wires.

Network Rail is planning 10 weekends starting on January 21.

This means that buses will replace trains between Preston and both Blackpool North and Blackpool South stations and passengers are urged to plan ahead and check before travelling.

This work will also require a six-week closure of land used as a car park next to Poulton station.

Ahead of the work Network Rail and contractors will be speaking to residents on Monday January 16 between 4pm and 7pm at Poulton Civic Centre in Breck Road and answering any questions they may have.

Alison Rowley, programme manager for Network Rail, said: “The upgrade and wider investment will result in a better and more reliable railway that will serve passengers for many decades to come and help boost the economy across the north of England.

“We are working closely with Northern to minimise the disruption to passengers and raise awareness of these changes to weekend train services between Preston and Blackpool.

“There is never a good time to affect journeys but we have planned the work to affect the least amount of passengers for the shortest amount of time. This is essential work and I’d like to thank passengers in advance for their understanding.”

Sharon Keith, Regional Director at Northern, said: “The upgrade between Preston and Blackpool is a vital part of the plans to modernise the service we offer to our customers.

“We have pledged to refurbish our trains, phase out the Pacers and introduce 281 new, purpose built carriages across the network, and are committed to delivering these improvements to give rail travellers in the north the 21st Century service they have been calling for.

“But our improvements will only have the desired impact if they are supported by infrastructure modernisation, and the 10 weeks of work, carried out by Network Rai at weekends to keep disruption to a minimum, is absolutely crucial.”

The work will allow electric train services to run between Preston and Blackpool North from May 2018.

The full upgrade will see tracks into Blackpool, Kirkham and Wesham remodelled and major changes to platforms. The changes to track, signalling and the platforms will allow trains to run more efficiently and reduce delays, providing a better services for passengers.

Further work, which will require the closure of the railway, will take place in late 2017.