Blackpool edges closer as rail work begins

Finally: Work to electrify the Blackpool to Preston railway line is set to begin
Finally: Work to electrify the Blackpool to Preston railway line is set to begin
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Work to electrify rail lines linking Preston and Blackpool is set to begin in the new year causing vital roads in the area to be closed.

Tithebarn Street in Poulton-le-Fylde and Station Road in Salwick will be closed for up to five months from January 3 until May 22 as essential bridge work is carried out.

The first stage of the work to electrify the route between Preston and Blackpool will connect the area to the west coast main line; the key rail artery linking the North West with London and Scotland.

In total 15 bridges need to be modified between Preston and Blackpool, including 11 bridge reconstructions, three track lowerings and one bridge removal.

Network Rail spokesman Keith Lumley said: “The Blackpool line is due to be electrified by the end of 2015 but in the meantime there is a massive amount of work to be done to achieve that date.

“There are numerous bridges that are too low to take the overhead power lines.

“Where we can we lower the track through them but some have to be rebuilt, which we do with as little disruption to the local community as possible.”

The Government confirmed funding for the investment in October 2010 and is set to improve the overall experience for rail passengers with more seats and improved reliability.

As electric trains are cheaper to operate than diesel trains it is believed this will lead to less maintenance and energy costs.

Mr Lumley added; “Electrification will bring a step change to rail travel in what has become known as the Lancashire Triangle - Manchester/Liverpool; Liverpool/Preston; Manchester/Preston, and the line from Preston to Blackpool.”

The environment will benefit as electric trains emit around 20-35% less carbon per passenger than their older diesel counterparts.

All road diversions will be clearly signposted and temporary footbridges will be in place for pedestrians.

All local businesses will remain open as usual.

Overhead lines on the route will be installed in 2014/15.