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Electrification means Blackpool and Preston railway connected to WCML for first time

Electrification between Blackpool and Preston over Christmas means the railway between the two areas has an overhead wire connection with the West Coast Main Line for the first time ever.

Part of the Great North Rail Project and linked with the 19-week upgrade programme currently underway in Blackpool, the completion of this work is a step towards introducing more electrical services in the north west.

The new wiring was installed by engineers over Christmas and Boxing Day, and further upgrades in Blackpool will include track realignment, further overhead line equipment and the installation of a modern signalling system.

Noel Connolly, head of programme management for Network Rail, commented: “The upgrade of Blackpool’s railway forms a key part the Great North Rail Project and will help to transform train journeys for passengers in the north.

“I’d like to thank passengers and local residents for their patience while we continue to carry these vital improvements.”

Overhead power lines between Preston and Blackpool being connected to the WCML

Sharon Keith, regional director for Northern, added: “It’s great to see the work progressing between Preston and Blackpool as the rail industry works in partnership to improve and modernise the railway for customers.

“The work being carried out by Network Rail will pave the way for our brand-new and refurbished trains to serve our customers in West Lancashire, providing modern, state-of-the-art rail travel with improved reliability.”

Included in the Blackpool upgrades, Network Rail will carry out key work on track and platforms at Blackpool North and Kirkham & Wesham stations and will also be installing 84 new modern signals to improve the reliability of journeys.

Images: Network Rail

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Trevor Lewis   05/01/2018 at 17:17

'Blackpool and Preston railway connected to WCML for first time', says the headline - and here was me thinking it happened in 1846!

Huguenot   05/01/2018 at 17:38

Yes, Trevor, that was funny, wasn't it! However, it shows that it can be done and we look forward to electric trains reaching Blackpool North before long. Perhaps we should have had the same project manager on the GWML! Lessons learnt could be carried forward so as to 'unpause' the MML electrification.

Geoff Kerr   06/01/2018 at 11:00

Good news then and let's hope the whole line from Manchester can go live in May, although there is much work to do still on the Bolton line. Is there a latest on Victoria - Stalybridge? I read that wires are only going a short distance up Miles Platting bank.

Andrew Gwilt   06/01/2018 at 22:43

Brilliant news. I guarantee it should be completed by next year before electric trains starts operating to Blackpool North.

Neil Hughes   08/01/2018 at 09:25

Amongst previous mentioned errors in this article, since when has Blackpool become a city???

Stuart   08/01/2018 at 09:49

Misleading headline - poor journalism. A good and necessary piece of work of course, to add the overhead catenary to the junction with the WCML, but the rail connection is not new and the electrification only extends about half mile so far, not to Blackpool yet

Mikeb   12/01/2018 at 10:35

@Geoff Kerr. A new rumour currently doing the rounds here in the North West is that the Manchester to Preston electrification is delayed and may not be complete until December. If that is correct it will be an embarrassment for Northern, who have already drafted a timetable for the coming May which would include through electric services from Manchester to Blackpool.

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