Relief for Wigan rail passengers as West Coast Main Line re-opens after engineering work at major junction

The Acton Grange junction has been upgraded
The Acton Grange junction has been upgraded

Rail travellers in Wigan will be breathing a sigh of relief after the West Coast Main Line re-opened following more than a fortnight of engineering works.

Replacement buses had been in use from Wigan North Western for 16 days while Acton Grange near Warrington was given a £27m upgrade.

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However, Network Rail was able to announce on Monday that the line connecting the borough to major cities from Birmingham to Scotland is now fully opened once again.

And it is hoped the upgrades to track, cabling, signals and overhead lines will result in a more reliable intercity service for passengers.

David Golding, acting route managing director, said: “Our complete overhaul of Acton Grange junction is vital as it sits on the West Coast main line, Europe’s busiest mixed-use railway.

“With more than 260 trains using this junction every day, it is important to keep it in a safe, good condition. Our upgrades will ensure this vital part of the railway stays reliable for passengers for many years to come.

“I want to thank passengers for bearing with us while we delivered this much-needed work.”

Network Rail also brought forward other engineering work to coincide with the 16-day closure of Acton Grange junction which it hopes will prevent future disruption in the North West.

Teams upgraded 4km of track and 2km of drainage through nearby Sutton Tunnel. A track crossing was also removed near Runcorn East station.

This saved a further 13-day closure of the West Coast main line.

The engineering work involved outdated infrastructure being brought up to modern standards.

Trains had to be rerouted and other services replaced entirely by buses as the rail industry was forced to come up with a plan to keep travellers on the move.

The work finished as planned despite the team experiencing extreme weather changes over the last two weeks including extreme temperatures, heavy rain and thunderstorms.