Weekend line closures loom for rail travellers

Chorley Railway Station
Chorley Railway Station

Passengers are facing more rail misery as improvement work at Chorley begins.

It is part of a £1bn Northern Programmes investment which will enable faster, more frequent trains through the area from December 2017.

Track through the area will be lowered to accommodate new overhead line equipment which will power electric trains between Manchester and Preston via Bolton from the end of 2017.

Both of Chorley’s platforms will be rebuilt and the roofs over two subways inside and next to the station will be replaced to support an increase in train services.

A temporary platform will be installed for passengers travelling north towards Preston while platform 1 is rebuilt and extended. Platform 2, which serves trains towards Manchester, is being rebuilt in sections and will remain open to passengers throughout the project.

To deliver the long-term benefits, the line between Preston and Bolton will have to be closed every weekend from Saturday, June 18, to Sunday, October 2 while the upgrades take place.

This will mean changes to weekend and some mid-week evening train services in the area while the work is carried out.

Network Rail said some of the work involved will have to take place overnight and, while everything will be done to minimise disruption to local residents, there will be some noise as a result.

Folk are invited find out more about the work at an information event today, from 4pm to 7pm at Chorley Town Hall.

Northern customers can find out how journeys will be changing at Chorley station on Saturday, May 14 from 9am to 1pm.

Noel Connolly, senior programme manager for Network Rail, said: “We are investing heavily in the railway as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan to provide passengers with the railway that will meet their needs for many decades to come and help boost the economy across the north of England.

“An electrified railway is part of this and will mean a better, more reliable railway for passengers. To deliver it, significant engineering is required to move and lower the track through Chorley and there is no other option but to close the line at weekends while this is carried out.

“The work has been carefully planned to cause as little disruption to passengers as possible and we are working closely with the train operators regarding amended services and will keep passengers informed.”

Alex Hynes, managing director for Northern, said: “Many of our customers in this region are looking forward to the benefits electric trains will bring to their journeys with us; more seats, faster journeys and better trains.

“This essential work at Chorley will ensure electric trains can operate between Manchester and Preston via Bolton from the end of 2017 – an exciting prospect for many of our customers. We’d like to remind them to check before they travel and speak to our colleagues at Chorley for the latest up-to-date information on the project.”

Chorley MP Lindsay Hoyle said: “The North of England needs much better transport links and services and the electrification of the railway is essential to this

progress. However, I know that work will be disruptive for commuters and residents right along the route, that’s why I have worked closely with Network Rail to mitigate the impact and ensure that residents have been notified. If residents have any problems during this process then I urge them to get in touch so I can feed back to Network Rail.”

Councillor Alistair Bradley, leader of Chorley Council, said: “It’s really good to see the infrastructure improvements being continued in Chorley as it is much needed for residents and visitors to the borough who travel by train.

“We as a council are going to be improving the entrance points into the town from the train station so we’re looking forward to working with Network Rail on this and making our station one to be proud of that provides a welcoming gateway into our town centre.”

At weekends train services between Preston and Manchester will be diverted via Wigan, with bus replacement services in operation for passengers travelling between Preston and Bolton. Full travel information can be found at www.nationalrail.co.uk.

For information about the work - and changes to train services - visit www.networkrail.co.uk/chorley