Network Rail to upgrade West Coast line
Four major junctions will be replaced on the West Coast Main Line this summer, Network Rail has announced.
In addition, three miles of track re-laid as part of an £18m improvement scheme.
6,600 new railway sleepers will be laid and 21,500 tonnes of ballast will be poured.
The work will improve the reliability of the infrastructure and the punctuality of train services on Britain's busiest mixed-use railway line and will be carried out over nine days from Saturday 13 July to Sunday 21 July.
Over an 18 mile stretch of line near Wigan during this time, trains will be unable to use the Warrington to Preston section of the route.
Train operators are developing timetables for alternative services, which will be publicised and available through rail journey planning and train company websites.
A spokesman for
“We would normally carry out work of this kind over a number of Bank Holiday weekends, meaning repeated replacement train services.
“By carrying out the work in a nine-day continuous spell this summer, we expect to complete the replacement of the four junctions around 16 months earlier, thereby avoiding disrupting rail travel plans for many weekends and nine bank holidays over the next two years.
“There is never a good time to carry out major work on such a busy route and after careful discussion with the train operators and industry partners, it became apparent that undertaking this vital investment in nine consecutive days in July would, overall, cause less disruption.
“Train services are quieter at this time and fewer people are expected to experience changes to their travel plans.”
The improvements will mean train services can run at up to 75 mph over the four upgraded junctions – Golborne Junction, Bamfurlong, Wigan Springs Branch, Balshaw Lane Junction.