Manchester to Preston improvements

We're upgrading one of the North West's busiest routes to prepare for faster trains with more space for passengers.


What's happening?

We're upgrading the railway between Manchester and Preston via Bolton as part of our multi-billion pound Great North Rail Project, which will help deliver faster, greener, quieter and more reliable journeys.

LNW Manchester to Preston improvement route map

We're grateful to residents and passengers for their ongoing patience while we build a better railway in the north west. A huge amount of work has already been carried out on the route between Manchester and Preston - to date, over 20 bridges have been reconstructed to make space for new overhead equipment that is now being installed to support the introduction of better trains. 

Overhead line work

Upgrading track between Manchester and Preston - project update

We're working to complete the upgrade of the 25 mile stretch of track between Manchester and Preston. The project was due to complete this December but the discovery of old mine workings, running sand and varying layers of rock have held up the installation of hundreds of steel columns to carry the power cables for the introduction of electric trains. New engineering solutions have been needed - using steel cylinders and filling them with concrete to support poor ground conditions.

Weekend closures affecting journeys in and out of Manchester

Journeys in and out of Manchester will be affected during weekends starting from Saturday 6 January until the summer, meaning buses will replace trains as line closures are needed to do this work. There will likely be further closures in the year - we'll provide details as soon as dates have been confirmed.

Please check before you travel at

Keeping you moving

Our improvement work has been planned to minimise disruption - we're committed to keeping passengers moving. Any further work that may affect your journey will be communicated immediately. Keep an eye on this page for the most up-to-date information.

Being a considerate neighbour

Some of the work required to electrify the railway can be disruptive to local residents and businesses. We'll make every effort to minimise unnecessary noise when working in communities and we will be writing to our neighbours with details of where and when we will be working.

We will also be holding information events at various locations along the route, giving our neighbours the opportunity to meet our project team and to find out about the next phase of work. Keep an eye out for details of future events, which will be published here.

If you’d like to know more or to want to speak to someone about work taking place in your area, you can contact our 24 hour helpline on 03457 11 41 41, or speak to us online.

Lostock station and Rumworth Road

We're installing a new substation to the east of Lostock station. The substation forms a vital part of our plans to enable greener and quieter electric trains to run in the future. To allow our engineers to install the new equipment, a small area of Lostock station’s car park will be temporarily closed until completion in March 2018.

In addition to the substation work, we’ve finishing building part of Rumworth Road railway bridge to make space for the future upgrade of the line between Lostock and Wigan.