Delays expected as major rail route to Manchester is closed

All trains running from Wigan to Manchester will be cancelled to allow engineering work to get underway
All trains running from Wigan to Manchester will be cancelled to allow engineering work to get underway

Rail travellers in Preston have been warned to expect delays after trains on a major North West route were cancelled.

The main Wigan to Manchester railway lines will be closed to trains on Saturday so that Network Rail can finish off engineering works as part of the Manchester-Preston upgrade.

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Network Rail will be closing the line, meaning Northern will not be able to operate any trains on the affected routes tomorrow.

The announcement comes as rail workers' unions prepare to strike over the weekend as part of an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.

A Network Rail spokesman said: "Network Rail sincerely apologises for the very short notice we have given Northern and its customers. We are using this additional access to finish off snagging and assurance work that is critical to complete the electrification between Preston and Manchester.

"Without this work going ahead tomorrow, the completion of the electrification scheme could be further delayed and could cause further delays to the introduction of electric trains on the route. We want to safeguard against that.

"Further potential weekend closures are currently being discussed and will be communicated once agreed.

"Once again, we apologise for any inconvenience this short notice work will cause and urge all passengers check before they travel using National Rail Enquiries for all the latest updates."