West Coast mainline to close between Wigan North Western, Preston and Lancaster at weekends

There will also be a number of changes to TransPennine Express services between Manchester/Liverpool to Glasgow/Edinburgh.
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Rail passengers have been warned of disruption on the West Coast Mainline over a series of weekends in February and March 2023.

Preston railway station will close and the West Coast main line railway shut completely between Wigan North Western and Lancaster over four weekends. Network Rail says it is investing £1.5m to upgrade railway foundation stone and six switches and crossings which are moving sections of track which allow trains to change lines at Preston.

The railway will need to close completely between Wigan North Western and Lancaster on the following weekends - Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 February, Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 February, Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 March, Sunday 12 March.

Furthermore, no trains will be able to run in or out of Preston on those dates. Rail replacement bus services will be in operation between Wigan North Western, Preston and Lancaster. People are advised to check their trips in advance at National Rail’s website and allow extra time if they need to travel.

There will also be a number of changes to TransPennine Express services between Manchester/Liverpool to Glasgow/Edinburgh.

On the 18th/19th, 25th/26th February, services between Manchester to Glasgow Central/Edinburgh will start and terminate at Lancaster. A rail replacement service will be in operation between Manchester Airport and Lancaster via Manchester Piccadilly and Preston. Services between Liverpool and Glasgow Central are cancelled throughout, customers are advised to seek alternative routes via Wigan North Western.

On the 4th/5th and 12th March, services between Manchester and Glasgow/Edinburgh will be amended to run between Lancaster and Carlisle only due to further engineering work taking place at Carstairs. A rail replacement service will be in operation between Manchester Airport and Lancaster via Manchester Piccadilly and Preston. At Carlisle there will be onward rail connections via Avanti and Scotrail services, or through rail replacement services. Services between Liverpool and Glasgow Central are cancelled throughout, customers are advised to seek alternative routes via Wigan North Western.

What has been said about the railworks?

Rail bosses apologised for any disruption. Phil James, Network Rail’s North West route director, said: “I’d like to thank people in advance for their understanding ahead of our essential track improvements at Preston station. Once complete it will mean better, smoother and more reliable journeys for passengers and freight on the West Coast main line.

An Avanti train Credit: Getty An Avanti train Credit: Getty
An Avanti train Credit: Getty

“However, upgrading complex equipment like switches and crossings means we have no choice but to close sections of railway and stop trains running so engineers can quickly and safely carry out our work. I’d urge anyone wanting to travel over the four weekends concerned to check National Rail Enquiries and plan ahead, allow extra time to get to where you need to be, and be prepared for some of your journey to be by bus.”

Shirley Ross, Avanti West Coast’s station manager at Preston, said: “Our team at Preston will be on hand to help customers at the station. Those who do travel, should check in advance and allow extra time for their journey, especially those travelling to and from Scotland.”

Chris Nutton, major projects director for TransPennine Express, said: "Whilst the upgrade work takes place around Preston station, there will be a number of changes to TransPennine Express services between Manchester/Liverpool to Glasgow/Edinburgh. We strongly advise customers to plan ahead and to check the latest changes to our services before they travel on our website. Updates will also be available on our social media channels."

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