The transformation of railway services in the north of England have reached a major milestone after an electric train has travelled to and from Blackpool for the first time ever.
It is part of Network Rail’s wider roll out of electrified rail lines across the UK which will result in greener and more environmentally friendly travel.
The historic milestone in Blackpool is a further example of the growing importance Network Rail is placing on the electrification of railways.
The installation of overhead power lines is a key part of the Railway Upgrade Plan devised by Network Rail which highlights the importance of electrification on providing faster, more reliable train journeys that will improve passenger experience and business trips.
In Blackpool, a Pendolino train was used to test the infrastructure between Blackpool North and from Preston, to ensure this 17-mile stretch can carry electric trains as the timetable is changing so that providers such as Virgin Trains and Northern can run these trains that are greener, more reliable and much quieter.
This scheme is part of the Great North Railway Project and the journey of the first electric train from Preston to Blackpool North and back was supervised by engineers who inspected the overhead equipment.
Network Rail’s Team Orange has spent 18 months getting the line ready for electric trains, installing 200,000 metres of electric wires, and installing more than 1,000 steel structures.
And the end result will be better journeys thanks to electrification, along with improved track layout and a modern signalling system.
Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail’s London North Western route, said: “The successful testing of the newly electrified railway is the latest step to provide customers with a better, more reliable railway.
“The Great North Rail Project is transforming rail travel across the north of England and passengers are now in touching distance of better journeys between Preston and Blackpool.”