General photo of track, via Istock

Track upgrades force closures through the West Coast main line

The West Coast main line is set to receive vital railway improvements at Preston station, with the package of works set to cause passenger disruptions over the course of four weekends spread throughout February and March.

This package of requisite upgrades has been supported through a £1.5m investment from Network Rail, with ambitions to upgrade the railway foundation stone, along with six switches and crossings. These pieces of equipment are vital to ensure the smooth operations of a railway service, with this maintenance project ensuring increased reliability for passenger and freight journeys for years to come.

Chris Jackson, regional director for Northern, said:

 “We welcome this investment in the rail infrastructure at Preston station. Getting people from where they are to where they want to be is what Northern is all about – and essential maintenance like this is an important part of protecting our operations for the future.”

The complexity of upgrading switches and crossings means the railway will need to close completely between Wigan North Western and Lancaster on:

  • Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 February
  • Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 February
  • Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 March
  • Sunday 12 March

This will subsequently mean that there will be no services passing through Preston station on those dates and times, seeing rail replacement bus services being introduced to operate through Wigan North Western, Preston and Lancaster.

Though there will be portions of the line will be open, passengers are being advised that these works will result in fewer trains available, services to be busier than expected and journeys to take longer than usual.

Phil James, Network Rail’s North West route director, said:

“I’d like to thank people in advance for their understanding ahead of our essential track improvements at Preston station. Once complete it will mean better, smoother and more reliable journeys for passengers and freight on the West Coast main line.

“However, upgrading complex equipment like switches and crossings means we have no choice but to close sections of railway and stop trains running so engineers can quickly and safely carry out our work. I’d urge anyone wanting to travel over the four weekends concerned to check National Rail Enquiries and plan ahead, allow extra time to get to where you need to be, and be prepared for some of your journey to be by bus.”

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