An £8.6m project to provide faster, more efficient rail services at Lancaster has been given the seal of approval by Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Eric Ollerenshaw OBE.
Currently, northbound trains can only call at platform three on the busy West Coast Main Line station, which limits capacity and performance.
But that is about to change as Network Rail engineers in collaboration with Babcock and Atkins work to modify the existing track and signalling at Lancaster, enabling trains from both directions to stop at platform four (as well as platform five when necessary.)
Network Rail programme manager Paul Marshall said: “This particular scheme is part of a £60m programme of improvements at 13 locations on the West Coast Main Line, including 12 in the north west, which will provide faster, more efficient and reliable train services on this vitally important route.”
The work at Lancaster will see the installation of new track and signalling including a mainline crossover – which allows trains to switch between tracks. This will help improve reliability and minimise any potential disruption from future engineering and maintenance works.
Playing a key role in the project has been Neil Jolly, by day a train controller, who gave up his own time to help design the new improved layout at Lancaster.
“Though not actually a member of the project team, Neil’s suggestions have been invaluable in helping us to plan and prepare these multi-million pound improvements,” said Paul.
On Friday (1st February), Neil and the project team took local MP Mr Ollerenshaw on a tour of the site, with works starting later this month and lasting until May/June.
Welcoming this latest investment in the regional rail network, Mr OIlerenshaw said: “This is part of the Government’s continuing investment in improving our railways and will help to deliver a more reliable service through Lancaster.”
Virgin Trains, which operates Lancaster station, is also looking forward to the operational benefits the improvements will bring.
Phil Bearpark, production director for Virgin Trains, said: “We welcome the new track layout at Lancaster which will considerably reduce the potential for delays to customers by allowing our trains to have greater choice of platforms.”