Blackpool's railway revolution starts tomorrow: Blackpool North station September 2017

Friday 10 Nov 2017

Blackpool's railway revolution starts tomorrow

London North Western

With one day to go, passengers are being reminded to plan their journeys as 19 weeks of work gets underway to help transform the railway between Blackpool and Preston.

  • Nineteen weeks of work to upgrade Blackpool’s railway from 11 November
  •  Buses replacing trains during railway closures
  • Network Rail, Northern and Virgin Trains working together to deliver the Great North Rail Project

The investment will make the railway bigger and better to carry the ever-increasing number of people who are travelling by train across the north of England.

From 11 November the Great North Rail Project scheme, part of Britain’s Railway Upgrade Plan, will see 19 weeks of work which will affect travel to and from the seaside town.

During this time Team Orange will carry out vital upgrades to track and platforms at Blackpool North and Kirkham & Wesham stations. The signalling on both lines into Blackpool will be upgraded, which includes installing 84 new signals which will make journeys more reliable.

To carry out the work, Network Rail will be closing the railway and Northern will be providing bus replacement services in and out of Blackpool, affecting North and South stations in different ways.

A DfT spokesperson said: “This vital upgrade is part of the government’s biggest investment in the network since Victoria times and will mean more seats, better connections, and more reliable journeys for rail passengers.

“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 this project is on track to deliver what passengers have told us they want to see.”

Martin Frobisher, Network Rail’s London North Western route managing director, said: “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.”

Sharon Keith, regional director at Northern, 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’d like to thank our customers in advance for their understanding and patience whilst this essential work takes place.”

Peter Broadley, executive director for customer, operations and safety at Virgin Trains on the west coast, said: “We know that upgrade works can impact on people’s travel plans. These particular works are being carried out by Network Rail to upgrade the railway between Preston and Blackpool. We have worked closely with Network Rail and industry partners to ensure alternative travel arrangements are in place. Customers travelling between London Euston and Blackpool should plan their journey in advance and check the National Rail enquiries website before travelling.”

Between Saturday 11 November and Sunday 28 January 2018 the railway will be completely closed between Preston and Blackpool North and Blackpool South stations.

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

The upgrade forms part of the Great North Rail Project to improve journeys between Blackpool and Preston and across the north of England.

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Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office -London North Western route
0330 854 0100

About Network Rail

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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