NETWORK Rail has blamed poor weather and engineering train failures for pushing back the reopening of the Preston to Blackpool North line until April 16.
Services were due to restart on March 26 after a five-month blockade of the route, having been suspended since November 11 to allow electrification work, resignalling and track replacement to proceed without interruption.
However, NR announced in mid March it would miss its deadline, leaving Blackpool without its main rail route over the busy Easter weekend.
Andrew Morgan, senior sponsor for Network Rail, said: “While we’ve made fantastic progress in upgrading the line over the last 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.”
However, local sources called NR’s excuses ‘feeble’ and criticised the management and execution of the work.
Read more in the April issue of The RM – on sale now!