Travellers warned of disruption as Wigan rail line is to be closed over three Saturdays for repairs to Victorian tunnel
and live on Freeview channel 276
The branch line, which runs through stations in Pemberton, Orrell, Rainford and Upholland is being closed to allow a million-pound upgrade to the historic Upholland tunnel.
Network Rail is replacing the track and the track bed through the 172-year-old tunnel to ensure it continues to provide safe and reliable journeys for years to come.
The length and location of the tunnel means that in order to carry out the work safely, the line will be closed and a bus replacement service will be in operation for passengers between Kirkby and Wigan Wallgate over three consecutive Saturdays: March 14, March 21 ansd March 28,
Rosie Cooper, MP for West Lancashire, said: “Although unfortunately there will be some disruption to passengers for three Saturdays, I welcome the £1m investment by Network Rail ensuring the track through Upholland Tunnel remains safe and reliable for trains for decades to come.”
Howerd Kernahan, project manager at Network Rail, said: “We know there’s never a good time to close the railway and we apologise for the disruption this work will mean for passengers in West Lancashire.
“This vital work will mean fewer delays on the line from Wigan to Kirkby and make this Victorian-built structure fit for a 21st-century railway.
“We urge people to check before they travel these three Saturdays while this upgrade takes place as part of the Great North Rail Project.”
On Saturdays, during the engineering work, hourly buses will operate locally between Wigan Wallgate and Kirkby, calling at all stations in between.
The tunnel was built in 1848 and takes in 887 metres of the Kirkby branch line underneath the village of Upholland.
It is located at the highest point of the line and is the only major structure on the route between Wigan Wallgate and Kirkby.