Better rail journeys across the north of England are coming – we're upgrading this key route, paving the way for more reliable journeys with more space for passengers
We are upgrading the railway between Preston and Blackpool as part of a £1bn+ investment in the north to deliver cleaner, quieter and more reliable journeys by May 2018.
The 17 mile route between Preston and Blackpool North will be fully electrified paving the way for better trains with more seats. We’re also improving the track layout and modernising signalling equipment to reduce delays and improve performance.
Work includes the replacement of 84 signals and moving the signalling control to the Manchester rail operating centre. Blackpool North and Kirkham & Wesham stations will be remodelled as part of our plans to simplify the current layout of the railway.
The Great North Rail Project isn’t just about rail
We are working to deliver modern, faster, more frequent and more comfortable train services across one of the largest rail networks in the country.
When the work is complete, we’ll have done more for the North than just laying tracks.
We’ll be creating new jobs, and connecting more people to more jobs. We’re closing the gaps between major cities. Making not only travel, but also trade, easier throughout the North. The work we’re doing will make the
region more desirable. For investment. For business. For everyone.
Why we're upgrading
From May 2018 modern, greener, cleaner and quieter trains will run between Blackpool and Preston. The upgrade tackles overcrowding and reduces running costs, as well as providing a reliable and sustainable railway for generations to come.
To upgrade the railway, we have to carry out the following engineering work:
- Upgrading bridges and structures.
- Strengthening railway embankments.
- Assessing level crossings.
- Clearing overgrown vegetation.
- Installing masts and wires.
- Install a new modern signalling system.
- Improving the track layout at several locations
- Upgrading key sections of the railway track.
We’re carrying out ecological surveys and environmental impact assessments to minimise impact on the natural environment. Any protected species or nesting birds are relocated where necessary.
When the work's done you'll benefit from
- More reliable services
Improvements to the track and signalling reduces delays of trains running in and out of Blackpool.
- More seats
The modern trains will be more spacious than the current ones. So, there’s more seating space available for passengers on each service.
- Smoother journeys
Modern trains running on an improved railway makes journeys smoother and quieter. So, your journey will be more comfortable.
- Greener trains
The modern trains will create lower carbon emissions in comparison to the current trains.
This helps to improve air quality in pollution hot spots and makes it cleaner and quieter for people living near the railway.
Keeping you moving
Our improvement work has been planned to affect rail transport in and out of Blackpool as little as possible and we are committed to keeping passengers moving.
Changes to train services: 11 November 2017 – 25 March 2018
As part of our Great North Rail Project, we’re improving rail journeys on the Blackpool to Preston line. We are temporarily closing the line to deliver quieter and more reliable journeys from 2018, alongside investment in better journeys right across the region.
- 11 November 2017 – 28 January 2018: Preston to Blackpool North and South closed.
- 29 January 2018 – 25 March 2018: Route to Blackpool South reopens – Preston to Blackpool North remains closed.
Buses will replace trains so please check before you travel and allow extra time for your journey. For further information visit National Rail Enquiries.
We are working closely with Northern and Virgin Trains so that when we do close the railway, passengers are informed about changes to train services. Please check before you travel at National Rail Enquiries.
Work has also started on the route to install foundations for new equipment that will enable greener and quieter electric trains to run from May 2018. For safety reasons, the work is being undertaken overnight when trains aren’t running.
Did you know? Over 450,000 components will be used in the overhead equipment on the Preston to Blackpool North route.
Being a considerate neighbour
Some of the work required to electrify the railway can be disruptive to local residents and businesses.
We will have been holding information events at various locations thoughout September and into October along the route, giving our neighbours the opportunity to meet our project team and to find out about the next phase of work.
The final events are taking place on:
- Monday 2 October 16:00-19:00 at Kirkham community Centre, Mill Street, Kirkham, PR4 2AN
- Monday 9 October 16:00-19:00 at Poulton Civic Centre, Breck Road, Poulton-le-Fylde, FY6 7PU
- Tuesday 24 October 16.00-19.00 at St Walburges Church Hall, Weston St, Preston PR2 2QE
- Monday 30 October 14.00-18.00 at Blackpool North station, Talbot Road, Blackpool, FY1 2AB
To keep the railway moving, we try to cause the least disruption to train services. And for safety reasons, we do most of the improvement work over night, or during carefully planned closures of the railway. Plus, we want to minimise the impact our work has on our neighbours. If we’re planning work close to your property we will write to you to let you know.
Disruptions may include:
- Noise from engineering trains and railway vehicles.
- Temporary flood lighting and head torches.
- Safety alarm sounds to indicate reversing vehicles.
- Engineering work including digging, moving railway stone and other heavy materials.
- Noise from installing piled foundations, for the masts and gantries that will carry electrified wires along the railway.
The appearance of the railway and surrounding area changes with this upgrade too. Steel masts run along the railway to support the overhead power lines. We try to put these in places that cause the least visual impact to our neighbours.
Download our leaflet to find out more.