WIGAN rail users will have to find an alternative route or use the bus next week when work begins on the tracks.
Network Rail have revealed details of a series of projects across the country, worth nearly £40m, aimed at improving the reliability of the infrastructure and punctuality of train services on Britain’s busiest mixed-use rail line.
It will see alterations to services in Wigan between Saturday, July 13 and July 21.
There will be major track improvements taking place between Warrington and Preston to replace old tracks and junctions before they become unreliable.
It is believed that nine days of continuous work now will cause less overall disruption to journeys than the 21 days it would take if the work was spread over multiple weekends and bank holidays.
The biggest knock-on effect for Wigan will be that trains between Glasgow Central and London Euston will not run between Preston and Warrington Bank Quay during that time period.
This means that there will be no services to or from Wigan North Western from either of these stations.
Trains will run between London Euston and Warrington Bank Quay and between Preston and Glasgow Central and Edinburgh though, meaning buses will run between Preston, Wigan North Western and Warrington Bank Quay.
Trains between Wigan North Western and Liverpool Lime Street will run from St Helens Central and buses will run between St Helens Central and Wigan.
There will also be alterations to services on specific dates.
On Saturday, July 13 and July 20, the 5.46am service between Manchester Piccadilly and Blackpool North will not call at Wigan North Western.
Between Monday, July 15 and Friday, July 19 the 5.46am service from Manchester Piccadilly to Blackpool North will not call at Wigan North Western.
And the 8.08pm Barrow-in-Furness to Manchester Airport service or the 10pm service between Manchester Airport and Barrow-in-Furness.
Once the works are complete they will have replaced:
Three miles of track
Four major junctions (including 27 sets of points)
21,500 tonnes of ballast
The new infrastructure will be immediately more reliable, easier to work on in the future and provide passengers with smoother and more comfortable journeys.
Dyan Crowther, route managing director, Network Rail said: “We are not satisfied with the current performance of our infrastructure on the southern end of the West Coast main line.
“This line has seen tremendous growth in traffic and passengers over the last five years and more trains mean that if something goes wrong, the knock on effects can be significant.”