Latest Rail News


Blackpool rail network to close for 19 weeks during major upgrade

Blackpool’s rail network is set for major changes as Network Rail plans to close the system for 19 weeks of essential work.

The upgrades – which form a part of the Great North Rail Project – will focus on improving capacity and reliability across the service.

During the closure time NR and Northern will carry out upgrades to track and platforms at Blackpool North and Kirkham & Wesham stations. The signalling on both lines into Blackpool will be upgraded, as 84 new signals will be installed to make journeys more reliable.

“This vital upgrade is part of the government’s biggest investment in the network since Victorian times and will mean more seats, better connections, and more reliable journeys for rail passengers,” commented transport minister Jesse Norman.

“We recognise there will be temporary disruption, but the benefits for passengers will be significant when complete. We are investing billions of pounds in transport across the region and I am delighted that this project is on track to deliver what passengers have told us they want to see.”

Replacement buses will be running throughout the 19-week period on all effected lines between Blackpool and Preston.

Martin Frobisher, NR’s London North Western route managing director, explained: “The upgrade of the line between Preston and Blackpool is the largest rail investment in the area since the 19th century and will provide a railway between Blackpool and Preston to be proud of.

“As Blackpool’s economy grows, the railway is growing too and we are working with the wider industry and our Blackpool region partners to keep people on the move throughout.

“There is never a good time to carry out this type of work but we have planned it to take place outside of the main holiday season so it causes the least impact.

“I am confident the short-term pain will be worth the long-term gain of transformed train travel in future.”

Work officially begins on 11 November, with the network completely closed until 28 January 2018.

Northern regional director, Sharon Keith, said: “The upgrade of the line between Preston and Blackpool is a key phase of the modernisation of the railway in the north of England.

“The work will pave the way for further improvements for our customers who, in the future, will benefit from brand new or fully refurbished electric trains – resulting in better journeys and, thanks to further investment, better stations.

“I would like to thank our customers in advance for their understanding and patience whilst this essential work takes place.”

Between 29 January 2018 and 25 March, the railway between Preston and Blackpool South will reopen, but the railway between Kirkham & Wesham and Blackpool North will remain closed.

The service was also down last year for 10 weekends while NR carried out essential improvement works.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here


Andrew Gwilt   04/11/2017 at 10:33

Electrification to Blackpool North should be completed in March 2018. Aswell electric trains to operate to Blackpool North. What if the electrification to Blackpool South could happen with electric trains to operate to Blackpool South aswell to Blackpool North.

Andrew JG   04/11/2017 at 17:51

Virgin Trains could allow some of the Class 390 Pendolinos to operate the London Euston-Blackpool North via Preston service. Once the electrification has been completed.

GW   07/11/2017 at 12:41

Another example of 'lazy engineering'. Stuff the passengers, let them get buses. The work should be done in such a way as to enable the bus journey to be shortened. Why isn't the Blackpool South line open for part of the time? The impact of works such as this is enormous on those effected as is grossly underestimated by those planning such works. We also never learn from our mistakes. In this case the reduction in platforms at Blackpool North. One of the biggest problems we have is congestion caused by too few platforms - St. Pancras is a prime example of how not to do it (Midland Main Line side).

Rail Realist   07/11/2017 at 16:47

GW is right. A 19 week blockade of all train services to Blackpool is unacceptable. Someone suggesting this even 10 years ago would have been sacked on the spot. So come on NR engineers, you can do better than this. Blockades have there place and the public will accept limited inconvenience but not 19 weeks. Please come up with a more acceptable way of achieving the work and please don't play the safety card as an excuse

Add your comment


Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >