Passengers are being reminded that train services between Chorley and Leyland will be disrupted from today, Saturday 19 July until the end of August as part of Network Rail’s investment in the railway in the north west.

Chorley Tunnel will be upgraded as part of Network Rail’s £1bn+ investment to provide a faster, more reliable and efficient railway. The track through the 113m tunnel will be lowered to accommodate overhead line equipment which will power electric trains between Manchester and Preston from December 2016.

As a result, the line between Chorley and Leyland, via Chorley Tunnel, will be closed from Saturday 19 July to Sunday 31 August while the upgrades take place.

Much of the work to electrify the railway across the north west is being completed without causing significant disruption to rail services but larger projects – such as the Chorley Tunnel upgrade – require full closures to allow heavy engineering work to take place.

Ian Joslin, area director for Network Rail, said: “More than £1bn of investment is being made to provide a better railway and boost the economy across the north of England.

“Significant engineering is required to lower the track and install the electrification equipment inside the tunnel and there is no other option but to close the line while this is carried out.

“The closure has been carefully planned so that it is kept to a minimum and we are working closely with the train operators regarding amended services and disruption. I apologise for any inconvenience caused and advise passengers to plan their journeys and check with National Rail Enquiries before travelling.”

Rob Warnes, performance and planning director for Northern Rail, said: “Once the electrification work is complete, customers will benefit from longer, faster, quieter and more environmentally friendly trains. While the work is carried out there will be a revised Northern Rail timetable, including replacement bus services, that customers can pick up at their local station or download from our website.”

To make the most of the closure three bridges will also be rebuilt at Harpers Lane (Chorley), Railway Road (Adlington) and Lockstock Lane (Bolton) as well as the River Chor aqueduct. Two bridges at Station Road (Blackrod) and Chorley Road (Adlington) will be modified in preparation for reconstruction in 2015. Relevant diversions and information will be clearly signed in connection with each location.

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