Rail bosses have warned travellers they could face severe delays on the railways this bank holiday weekend.
Passengers are being advised to plan their journeys ahead of the late May bank holiday with planned engineering work taking place on the West Coast main line.
Work will take place to replace sections of track and overhead electric cables and maintain bridges, tunnels and trackside equipment on the route between London Euston and Cumbria, which runs through Wigan, Preston and Lancaster.
Ahead of the Whitsun bank holiday (may 25-27), passengers are being advised to plan their journeys at www.nationalrail.co.uk, when sections of the West Coast main line will be closed between London Euston and Milton Keynes, and Warrington and Cumbria.
Where the line is open trains will be running, but customers will have longer journeys, fewer available seats, and may need to use rail replacement buses.
The West Coast main line is Europe’s busiest mixed-use (freight and passenger) railway line and is used by millions of passengers every year.
Martin Frobisher, managing director of Network Rail’s London North Western route, said: “We recognise there is never an ideal time to shut the railway for our must-do work. Bank holidays are the least disruptive time to do it, when fewer passengers use the railway compared to the working week. That way we can do the maximum amount of work while impacting the fewest people. Sometimes a closure is the only way we can carry out major work like replacing track or improvements to overhead electric lines.
“Train companies and Network Rail have worked together to minimise disruption for customers by doing a lot of work over the recent bank holidays. The alternative would have been closing the line over multiple weekends throughout the summer.”
Robert Nisbet, regional director for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the railway, said: “This vital engineering work is part of the rail industry’s plan to add more services, improve punctuality and make journeys better, and as fewer people travel on bank holidays than on a normal weekday, we’re keeping disruption to a minimum. We encourage people who are planning to take the train over the May bank holidays to check before they travel by visiting nationalrail.co.uk or speaking to their train operator.”
Over the bank holiday weekend work includes:
• Track work between Camden and Wembley;
• Railway track replacement between Tring and Milton Keynes;
• Track foundation improvements in Milton Keynes;
• Signalling and telecommunications work at Acton Grange junction in Warrington;
• Track renewal at Acton Bridge station in Northwich;
• Improvements to overhead electric lines in Cumbria;
• Track foundation cleaning in Carlisle.
To plan journeys and for the latest travel information visit: www.nationalrail.co.uk