The railway between Preston and Blackpool will be fully open to trains from this weekend following seven weeks of work to improve drainage.

As part of the Great North Rail Project, Network Rail has been working along the 17-mile route in Kirkham and Poulton-le-Fylde to install 200 metres of railway drainage, 100m of new track, complete finishing touches at the recently upgraded Kirkham & Wesham station, as well as fitting new electrical switches on the new overhead power lines.

The upgrades follow last year’s project to electrify the railway and will make the overhead line equipment easier to maintain, providing a more reliable railway for passengers in Lancashire.

Work to improve the Blackpool North line’s drainage system will continue during overnight shifts until the end of April.

Lawrence Cheung, sponsor for Network Rail, said: “This morning we reopened Blackpool’s railway, as planned, following seven Sunday closures to help us complete the Preston to Blackpool upgrade – a key part of the Great North Rail Project.

“Our engineers are working hard to carry out the finishing touches to our route upgrade, which has allowed greener and more spacious electric trains to run between Preston and Blackpool.

“We are grateful to passengers and residents for their continued patience.”

Paul Maynard, MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, said: “I understand the frustration of passengers while this work was being carried out. I hope now we will see the full benefit of last year’s upgrade work being delivered. Combined with the start of electric services on the route through Bolton, providing additional capacity, this is welcome news for passengers.”

Investment in the Fylde Coast’s railway continues as work to rebuild Highbury Road bridge in Lytham St Annes progresses.

To complete the next phase of the bridge renewal project, the railway between Kirkham & Wesham and Blackpool South will be closed for two weekends in March. On 9-10 and 16-17 March, replacement buses will operate between Preston and Blackpool South.

The railway between Preston and Blackpool North will remain open at all times.

Passengers should check before they travel at www.nationalrail.co.uk.

For more information about the Preston to Blackpool upgrade, visit www.networkrail.co.uk/blackpool.