Passengers are being advised to plan their journeys later this month when Network Rail continues its major improvement of the Cumbrian Coast line.

Over seven Sundays from 19 October, two miles of worn out track will be replaced between Drigg and Bootle. Railway stone and drainage will also be upgraded.

The £2.8m Great North Rail Project investment follows similar work earlier this year when track was brought up to modern standards between Silecroft and Bootle.

The new track will make journeys more comfortable and smoother for passengers who are now also benefiting from newer trains* on the coast line.

Phil James, North West route director at Network Rail, said: ‘We’re committed to putting Cumbrian passengers first. This work as part of the Great North Rail Project will not only make the coast line more reliable for Northern passengers but also for economically important freight trains travelling along this picturesque route.

‘The essential work has been carefully planned to cause the least disruption to passengers. We thank people for their patience and advise people travelling between Barrow and Carlisle to check with National Rail Enquiries or Northern if they plan to travel by rail on Sundays.’

While work takes place, buses will replace trains between Millom and Sellafield on 20 October, and between Barrow and Millom on 27 October and 3 November.

Buses will also be in operation between Millom and Sellafield on 10, 17 and 24 November, and on 1 December.

Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern, said: ‘The work being carried out by Network Rail is a vital part of the continued improvements we are making for customers on the Cumbrian Coast line. The work will future proof the line and, together with improvements we are making to trains, will give our customers more comfortable journeys than ever before.’

‘I’d like to thank our customers in advance for their patience while the improvements are completed. And they can rest assured that Northern and Network Rail will work together to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.’

Trudy Harrison, MP for Copeland, said: ‘I recognise the inconvenience of not having the 21 trains running on a Sunday, following our hard work campaigning to get them, but this essential maintenance means that our service along the Cumbrian coastal railway line will be more reliable. I am delighted that so much investment is going into our local line, it’s not before time, and we have so many more services now.’

In total, 1.9 miles of new rail and sleepers, along with half a mile of railway stone and 300 metres of new drainage will be replaced between Bootle and Drigg.

The modern materials will last longer, reducing maintenance costs. The upgrade will also better protect the railway from heavy rainfall, helping trains to run on time during bad weather.

The continued railway investment on the Cumbrian Coast line is forming part of study which started in July by Cumbria County Council, the Cumbrian LEP, Department of Transport and Network Rail.

It’s investigating how the area’s economy can benefit from more freight and passenger trains in the future.

Passengers are being advised to plan ahead of this major work and check before they travel at www.nationalrail.co.uk.