Friday 6 Jan 2017

Next stage of work to upgrade the railway in Lancashire starts this month

London North Western

Passengers are being advised to always plan their journeys as the next phase of the major work to upgrade the railway between Preston and Blackpool gets under way this month.


The Northern Programmes project, part a £1bn+ investment across the north, has already delivered the electrification of the line linking Wigan with Manchester and Liverpool, allowing extra services to run providing passengers with a better, more reliable railway. The next phase will upgrade the line between Poulton-Le-Fylde and Salwick and prepare the line for electrification.

To deliver this major upgrade there will alterations to train services for 10 weekends from 21 January. This means that buses will replace trains between Preston and both Blackpool North and Blackpool South stations and passengers are urged to plan ahead and check before travelling.

This work will also require a six-week closure of land used as a car park next to Poulton station. Network Rail will be speaking to local residents on Monday 16 January between 4pm and 7pm at Poulton civic centre, Breck Road, Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire FY6 7PU. Staff from Network Rail and the contractors carrying out the work will be on hand to answer any questions the public may have.

Alison Rowley, programme manager for Network Rail, said: “The upgrade and wider investment will result in a better and more reliable railway that will serve passengers for many decades to come and help boost the economy across the north of England. 

“We are working closely with Northern to minimise the disruption to passengers and raise awareness of these changes to weekend train services between Preston and Blackpool. 

“There is never a good time to affect journeys but we have planned the work to affect the least amount of passengers for the shortest amount of time. This is essential work and I’d like to thank passengers in advance for their understanding.”

Sharon Keith, Regional Director at Northern, said: “The upgrade between Preston and Blackpool is a vital part of the plans to modernise the service we offer to our customers.

“We have pledged to refurbish our trains, phase out the Pacers and introduce 281 new, purpose built carriages across the network, and are committed to delivering these improvements to give rail travellers in the north the 21st Century service they have been calling for.

“But our improvements will only have the desired impact if they are supported by infrastructure modernisation, and the 10 weeks of work, carried out by Network Rai at weekends to keep disruption to a minimum, is absolutely crucial.”

The work will allow electric train services to run between Preston and Blackpool North from May 2018.

The full upgrade will see tracks into Blackpool, Kirkham and Wesham remodelled and major changes to platforms. The changes to track, signalling and the platforms will allow trains to run more efficiently and reduce delays, providing a better services for passengers.

Further work, which will require the closure of the railway, will take place in late 2017 in order to complete this important upgrade.

For more information and advice on how to plan your journey, go to

Contact information

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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 36,000 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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