A LEVEL crossing is to be modernised as part of a £2.1million upgrade for the East Lancashire line.

Network Rail is to renew track between Blackburn and Preston over three weekends starting on November 21.

It will also replace the 1943 level crossing in Daisyfield in Blackburn, which is a traffic bottleneck.

The work, which cost £2.1m as part of the Great North Rail Project, has been welcomed by local councillor Parwaiz Akhtar and Blackburn with Darwen Council transport boss Cllr Phil Riley.

It will involve closing part of the East Lancashire line from Preston via Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley and Colne on the three weekends with replacement buses for passengers provided by train operator Northern.

The track will be replaced between Hoghton and Entwistle to make the ride for passengers smoother and improve reliability.

While the railway is closed, Network Rail will replace Daisyfield level crossing gates and instal lighting, move the associated signalling and telecoms and replace two signals with modern LED ones.

The crossing will remain staffed.

Mark Rothwell, project manager for Network Rail, said: “Making Daisyfield level crossing and the railway track between Preston and Blackburn fit for the future will mean fewer delays and more reliable journeys for both motorists and passengers.

“This essential work as part of the Great North Rail Project will mean some disruption in the short term and for that I’d like to thank people in advance for their patience.

“Passengers are advised to check with train operator Northern or at www.nationalrail.co.uk so they know what to expect from their journey while the work is taking place.”

Cllr Riley, a board member for Transport for the North, said: “Every piece of investment in the local rail network is to be highly welcomed.

“I am pleased Daisyfield level crossing is being modernised. It is long overdue.”

Bastwell and Daisyfield ward’s Cllr Akhtar said: “This is something new and good for the local community.

“It should help ease traffic congestion in the area.”

Chris Jackson, regional director for Northern, said: “The work to upgrade the railway in Lancashire will help future-proof our network and will deliver a more resilient railway for our customers.

“We will work closely with colleagues from Network Rail to keep disruption to a minimum during the engineering and will do all we can to keep our customers on the move.”