Published on : Wednesday, April 5, 2017
The work to upgrade the railway is part of Network Rail’s £1bn+ Great North Rail Project which will allow electric trains to travel between Preston and Blackpool, helping to deliver better, more reliable journeys in Lancashire from May 2018.
Engineers worked round the clock during 10 weekend closures between Preston and Blackpool North and South stations. New drainage to improve reliability was installed in Poulton-le-Fylde before tracks were realigned beneath a number of road bridges near the station. Improvements to the tracks were also made near Salwick station.
The work will allow overhead lines to be installed in the area in preparation for greener and quieter electric trains.Alison Rowley, programme manager for Network Rail, said: “I’d like to thank passengers for their ongoing patience while we carry out this vital work. The upgrade and wider investment will result in a better, more reliable railway that will serve passengers for decades to come.
“I’d also like to thank local residents for their understanding. The work we carried out near to their homes was at times noisy but I know the local community will experience the benefits that a better railway will bring which will help boost the economy across the north of England.”
The work, being delivered with VolkerRailn and part of the national Railway Upgrade Plan, will see tracks into Blackpool and Kirkham & Wesham stations remodelled, with major changes to platforms. The changes to track, signalling and the platforms will allow trains to run more efficiently and reduce delays, providing better services for passengers.
Sharon Keith, regional director for Northern, said: “The past 10 weeks have been extremely disruptive for our customers and we appreciate the patience and understanding they have shown as the work has progressed.
“Network Rail has, however, made great progress and the work carried out to upgrade the line will complement our own modernisation plans which will see the introduction of new and refurbished trains, improvements at stations across our network and enhancements to the services we offer.”
Further work to complete the upgrade, which will require a closure of the railway, will take place later in the year. Network Rail is working closely with Northern and Virgin Trains to manage this and will have more detail on the impact later in the year.