Cumbrian rail users are being reminded to plan ahead as engineering works on a part of the West Coast Main Line start today.

A major junction on the line will be closed for 16 days to allow vital engineering work to be carried out.

Network Rail will be upgrading track, cabling, overhead lines and signalling on the busy Acton Grange junction between July 20 and August 4. The junction, in Warrington, is used by more than 260 trains every day.

Acton Grange is a key section of the west coast main line between Crewe and Preston.

While the £27 million Great North Rail Project scheme takes place, many train services will be diverted via alternative routes, and replacement buses in place.

Network Rail say direct services between Carlisle and London Euston will run, but will be diverted between Wigan and Crewe, via Manchester Piccadilly. Services between Carlisle and London Euston via Birmingham will terminate at Preston (for trains south) and Crewe (for trains north).

Passengers travelling to and from Birmingham will need to take a rail replacement bus service between Preston and Crewe to pick up connecting trains.

Martin Frobisher, managing director for Network Rail’s London North Western route, said: “The west coast main line is Europe’s busiest mixed-use railway. It is the economic backbone of Britain.