Latest Rail News

13.04.18

Blackpool to Preston route to reopen after major 5-month transformation

Train services between Blackpool North and Preston are to be reintroduced at the start of next week following completion of the route upgrade.

Lasting 22 weeks, the works, carried out as part of the multibillion-pound Great North Rail Project, saw upgrades to the tracks, station platforms and signalling systems.

Engineers rebuilt 11 bridges, remodelled 11 station platforms, replaced 11,000m of track, installed 200,000m of overhead power line, upgraded drainage systems and installed 84 modern signals.

Controlled from Network Rail’s operating centre in Manchester, the brand-new signalling system is expected to help reduce delays and improve railway performance.

The closure of the line was extended in March following severe weather and the breakdown of critical machinery used to install new overhead line equipment.

From 16 April there will initially be one train an hour between Preston and Blackpool North, allowing time for driver training on the route.

This will continue to be supplemented with two stopping and two express bus services each hour.

On the same day, Virgin Trains will reinstate its direct service to Blackpool North from London Euston.

Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail’s London North Western route, said: “During the closure we’ve worked round-the-clock to upgrade and electrify the line to provide passengers with better services on this important route later this year.

“This work will allow greener, quieter and more reliable train services to run between Preston and Blackpool North when the new timetable is introduced on 20 May.”

Sharon Keith, Northern regional director, added: “The electrification work, carried out as part of the Great North Rail Project, will enable us to run greener and more reliable electric trains from Blackpool as part of our May timetable change, giving our customers more comfortable journeys and more journey options.”

Once the railway is reopened, upgrade works will continue during the spring through overnight shifts when trains are not running.

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