Work to complete the Manchester to Preston railway upgrade is continuing, alongside work on other key parts of the Great North Rail Project, in 2018.

Continuing every weekend for the forseeable future, Network Rail engineers will be working to complete the upgrade of the 25-mile stretch of track between Manchester and Preston to support the introduction of better trains.  

For further information on the improvement work, please view the 'Bolton Route Upgrade' PDF.  

The project was due to complete last December, but old mine workings, running sand and varying layers of rock have significantly hampered the installation of hundreds of steel columns needed to carry the power cables for the introduction of electric trains. New engineering solutions have been required to resolve the problems which has included using steel cylinders and filling them with concrete to deal with poor ground conditions 

To allow engineers to access the railway, sections will need to be closed during some weekdays and every weekend. This will affect journeys in and out of Manchester from destinations including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Oxenholme, Penrith, Lancaster, Preston, Liverpool, Wigan, Chorley and Bolton.  There will also likely be further closures when the work is being tested and trains are put in to service.

The work will mean major changes for our customers travelling across the region, including rail replacement buses in some areas. Network Rail are currently working to finalise full details and will provide further updates as soon as possible. 

Due to the nature of this engineering work, unfortunately we are unable to produce timetables as far in advance as we would like. Please check here for timetables for future weekends, which we will update as quickly as possible. Times shown in National Rail Enquiries for weekends ahead of those shown below may change as the engineering work is finalised a couple of weeks before.

RMT Union strike action is taking place on Saturday 29 September, as well as Saturdays 6, 13 and 20 October. Please see further information - including strike timetables, when available - here.

Due to the implementation of a temporary timetable, please check our timetables page for services between Manchester and Southport/Kirkby and between Manchester and Preston for services before or after the dates listed below.  

Engineering Timetables

 

Bolton to Manchester 

Sunday 21 October: Alternative Timetable.

Saturday 27 October: Alternative Timetable.

Sunday 28 October: Alternative Timetable.

Sunday 4 November: Alternative Timetable.


Manchester to Blackburn and Clitheroe

Sunday 21 October: Alternative Timetable.

Saturday 27 October: Alternative Timetable.

Sunday 28 October: Alternative Timetable.

Sunday 4 November: Alternative Timetable.


Manchester Airport and Manchester to Wigan/Southport/Kirkby

Sunday 14 October: Alternative Timetable.

Monday 15 to Thursday 18 October: Alternative Timetable.

Sunday 21 October: Alternative Timetable.

Sunday 28 October: Route Improvement Timetable.

Monday 29 October to Friday 2 November: Alternative Timetable.

Sunday 4 November: Route Improvement Timetable.

Monday 05 November to Thursday 8 November: Alternative Timetable.


Blackpool to Preston and Manchester

Monday 08 to Friday 12 October: Alternative Timetable.

Sunday 14 October: Alternative Timetable.

Sunday 21 October: Alternative Timetable.

Saturday 27 October: Alternative Timetable.

Sunday 28 October: Alternative Timetable.

Sunday 4 November: Alternative Timetable.

Monday 05 November to Friday 09 November: Alternative Timetable.