Platforms have been demolished, signal boxes decommissioned and a new platform at a station on the outskirts of Preston is being built in the first week of major rail works.Advertisement
It’s part of a 19-week project to improve the line, a key strand of the multi-billion-pound Great North Rail Project.
Work began on the line on Saturday 11 November, causing passengers to find alternate travel routes such as replacement bus services.
Read more: Prepare for closures on Preston to Blackpool rail line as work begins
Since mobilising the line, Network Rail’s Team Orange has already demolished old platforms to make way for straighter ones with improved layouts, as well as decommissioning five signal boxes.
Work has already started on building a new platform at Kirkham and Wesham station, along with improving drainage, and they have began to install overhead power lines so that electric trains can run.
Tracks at Blackpool North Station have been removed, and 24 engineering trains have been positioned along the route to support the upgrade.
The aim of the project is to transform train travel for customers across the North, making the railway bigger and better to cater for the increased volumes of people forecast to want to use it in future.
Over the remaining 18 weeks Network Rail engineers will carry out vital upgrades to track and platforms at Blackpool North and Kirkham & Wesham stations, with upgrades to signalling on both lines into Blackpool.
This includes installing 84 new signals to make journeys more reliable.
Network Rail’s London North Western route Managing director, Martin Frobisher, said: “We have made a great start to this phase of the Great North Rail Project.
“I am confident the short-term pain will be worth the long-term gain of transformed train travel in future.”
Read more: Preston to Lancaster trains won’t run over Christmas
Regional Director at Northern, Sharon Keith, said: “This upgrade 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, through our modernisation plan, better stations.”
Executive Director for customer, operations and safety at Virgin Trains on the west coast, Peter Broadley, 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.”
Read more: Virgin Trains apprentice driver to be based at Preston
The railway between Preston and Blackpool North and South Stations will remain closed up to Sunday 28 January 2018.
Between Monday 29 January – Sunday 25 March 2018, the railway between Preston and Blackpool South will reopen but the railway between Kirkham and Wesham and Blackpool North will remain closed.
Have you been impacted by the railway project? Are you using the alternate bus replacement services? Let us know in the comments below