CRL - Community Rail Lancashire

Southport Nine Day Blockade

From Saturday 10 February to Sunday 18 February 2024, engineers will work around the clock to complete a number of major upgrades across the Southport and Wigan areas.

Burscough Bridge signal box – photo Wikimedia Commons

This work being carried out by Network Rail includes level crossing renewals, electrification work and signalling upgrades.

The first key element of the work is associated with Network Rail’s Wigan to Bolton electrification scheme, which is set to improve travel across the North West by allowing greener, cleaner and quieter electric trains to run on the line.

This enabling work, which involves a bridge reconstruction, track drainage work and preparation for the installation of new signals will allow engineers to move forward with the £78m project, ensuring the track is ready for Northern’s longer, electric trains when they are introduced.

The second piece of work will see engineers renew three level crossings (Pool Hey, Wyke Cop, Chapel Lane), enhance Burscough Signal Box (see phot above) and upgrade a number of signals across Parbold, increasing the reliability of train services passing through the area while making it safer for local communities.

Phil James, North West Route Director for Network Rail, said: “We understand there is no ideal time to close the railway and want to thank passengers for bearing with us while we compete these major upgrades.”

“The work is a vital part of our rail improvement plan across the North West which will not only help to improve the reliability of train services, but also take us one step closer to a greener, faster railway.”

“I’d encourage anyone travelling to plan their journey ahead of time via National Rail Enquiries or with their train operator.”

While this work takes place the railway must be closed. Network Rail has worked closely with train operators to keep customers on the move via rail replacement buses. Passengers are urged to plan their journey at