Roadshow for passengers hit by line closure

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WIGAN rail passengers are being urged to find out more about how major improvement work on the West Coast Main Line will affect them next month.

From Saturday July 13 to Sunday July 21, trains will be unable to operate over an 18-mile stretch of line between Warrington Bank Quay, Wigan North Western and Preston while four junctions are replaced and three miles of track re-laid.

Operators will be making alternative arrangements to help passengers complete their journeys and there is a series of roadshows at stations where passengers can find out more, the first at Wigan North Western from 7am to 10am on Monday. Representatives from Network Rail and train operating companies will provide further details and answer questions.

Network Rail route MD Dyan Crowther said: “This scheme represents significant investment in the railway to increase line speeds and make the railway more reliable and punctual. 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 was decided that carrying out this vital investment in nine consecutive days in July would, overall, cause least disruption.

“Train services are quieter at this time and fewer people are expected to experience changes to their travel plans compared to the alternative, which would have been to stagger the work over the next two years, impacting on dozens of weekends and bank holidays.”

Usually, Network Rail would have carried out such work over a number of bank holiday weekends requiring train services to be replaced repeatedly by alternative transport. By carrying out the work in a nine-day continuous spell this summer, engineers expect to be able to complete the replacement of the four junctions around 16 months earlier and to avoid disrupting rail travel plans for many weekends and nine bank holidays over the next two years.