Train services between Preston and Blackpool North will resume on Monday 16 April.

Snow, wind and ice from the ‘Beast from the East’ combining with Storm Emma off the Atlantic is one of the main factors that has caused the long-awaited resumption of train services to be pushed back three weeks.

An essential engineering train required for delivering the upgrade also needed unplanned maintenance.

The additional time will be used by Network Rail’s engineers to put the finishing touches on this comprehensive upgrade of the line between Preston and Blackpool.

There will be further work on the railway after 16 April, but this is not expected to disrupt train services.

To keep customers moving, we will continue to operate a regular bus replacement service between Preston and Blackpool North until Monday 16 April when trains will resume once again.

Andrew Morgan, senior sponsor for Network Rail, said: “While we’ve made fantastic progress in upgrading the line over the past six months, the recent bad weather and unexpected maintenance of critical machinery has hampered us slotting in final pieces of this important jigsaw, at one of the busiest times of the closure.

“We continue to thank Northern and its customers for bearing with us. We are working around the clock to get train services back moving again from 16 April.

“The additional line closure will help us claw back time. The completion of the remaining work will allow passengers to benefit from better, greener and more efficient services in future.”

Sharon Keith, Northern regional director, said: “It’s disappointing to experience delays to the engineering work at Blackpool, but we continue to work in partnership with our colleagues in Network Rail to deliver the upgrades our customers want and deserve.

“We look forward to being able to run train services again between Preston and Blackpool North, strengthening the connections between the city and the country’s most popular seaside destination.”

Sharon added: “The engineering work is just the start of the modernisation of the railway for Blackpool. With the ability to run electric trains, the town will be one of the first to benefit from our brand new fleet of Class 331s currently being built, which are due for introduction from December this year.

“And customers will also see improvements to their stations as part of a multi-million pound scheme to modernise facilities and introduce new ticket machines.”

Customers travelling between Preston and Blackpool North are urged to check before they travel at National Rail Enquiries.