Network Rail has announced plans for additional investment to improve the rail line between Preston and Blackpool North, in order to provide better services in north-west England.

The move forms a part of an investment worth more than £1bn, which will help to provide passengers in the north-west with a faster, more reliable and efficient railway.

UK Rail Minister Claire Perry said: "This is proof that our plan to transform rail travel across the north is progressing and will provide a world-class railway that offers more seats, improved connections and better journeys. This will help secure lasting economic growth across the region.

"In addition to the £1bn being invested in major transport improvements in this area, we have also asked Virgin Trains to look at introducing direct services from Blackpool to London from December."

"This will help secure lasting economic growth across the region."

Work under the improvements includes electrification, signalling and track upgrades on the line.

The investment will be used in the line electrification and the installation of a new modern signalling system.

Blackpool North station’s track layout will also be changed to operate longer trains.

Network Rail principal sponsor Martin Jurkowski said: "We will work closely with the train operators to minimise disruption as much as possible and to provide passengers with the information they need to plan their journeys during this time."

Image: The improvements are part of Network Rail’s £1bn investment in the north-west England. Photo: courtesy of Network Rail.