Wednesday 6 Sep 2017
Preston to Blackpool railway upgrade is the biggest since 1800s
- London North Western
• Nineteen weeks of work to upgrade Blackpool’s railway from 11 November
• Buses replacing trains during railway closures
• Network Rail and Northern working together to deliver the Great North Rail Project
Train passengers were today advised to prepare for a major railway transformation in Blackpool.
The purpose of the work is to make the railway bigger and better to carry the increased numbers of people forecast to want to travel by train in the future.
From 11 November the Great North Rail Project, part of Britain’s Railway Upgrade Plan, is embarking on 19 weeks of work which will affect travel to and from the seaside town.
During this time Network Rail will carry out vital upgrades to track and platforms at Blackpool North and Kirkham & Wesham stations. We are also upgrading the signalling system on both lines to Blackpool which includes installing 84 new modern signals which will help to make journeys more reliable.
For Network Rail to do this work sections of the railway will need to close to Northern train services. Buses will replace trains during these closures.
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.
When the upgrades is complete Blackpool-to-Preston passengers will benefit from a cleaner, greener, quieter and more reliable railway.
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. It will enable greener, quieter and more reliable train services, providing passengers and Blackpool with a railway 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 the people of Blackpool and the Fylde on the move throughout the closure. 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 certainly 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.”
Transport Minister Jesse Norman, said: “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.
“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.”
For more information please visit www.networkrail.co.uk/blackpool
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.