Key Wigan railway commuter line to shut for five days of engineering works

The bridge at Burscough whose replacement in November will cause major rail disruption for five days
The bridge at Burscough whose replacement in November will cause major rail disruption for five days

A major Wigan rail route is to be closed for five days as a bridge is replaced.

Passengers wanting to travel between Wallgate and Southport will have to catch buses between Parbold and the seaside resort as engineering works are carried out next month.

Network Rail is replacing a railway bridge over the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Burscough as part of the Great North Rail Project which aims to ensure more reliable journeys for passengers for years to come.

In order to carry out the major work no trains will run between Southport or Parbold stations from Saturday to Wednesday November 16 to 20.

Passengers are being advised that bus replacement services will operate during that time.

To allow engineers to carry out the work, there will also be a seven-day closure of the canal towpath beneath the bridge from Friday November 15.

During the closure, more than 400m of track drainage will also be upgraded at Hoscar Lane station.

Additionally sleepers and sections of rail we be upgraded around Southport station to improve journeys for passengers.

Ian Jones, route delivery director for Network Rail’s North West route, said: “This essential refurbishment is part of the Great North Rail Project and will mean that the bridge will be fit for purpose for decades to come.

"I'm sorry for any impact the work will have and would like to thank passengers in advance for their patience.”

Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern, said: “The bridge renewal is a vital part of work to future-proof the railway and we are working hard with Network Rail to keep disruption to a minimum.

"We will do all we can to keep our customers on the move whilst the work is carried out.”

Rosie Cooper, Labour MP for West Lancashire, said: "I welcome news of the upgrades to the Southport to Manchester line and the drainage works to be carried out at Hoscar station.

"This will inevitably cause some disruption to commuters, but I expect the works to be an improvement for people in the longer term, and am aware that rail replacement buses will be in place.

"I look forward to continuing to work with Network Rail to secure improvements where needed, including at Parbold station, increasing the reliability and commuter satisfaction of those using trains."

Rail travellers are being advised to allow extra time for their journeys and to check before they travel at www.nationalrail.co.uk.