Passengers on the Settle-Carlisle Railway are to face disruption over the next month as engineering works get underway tomorrow (Monday, March 6).
Originally scheduled for May, Network Rail has brought the £58 million improvement scheme forward and will carry out improvements along the entire seventy-two miles of track.
Engineers are set to replace 11,316 yards of track which will be held in place by 4,825 new sleepers, a number of which will be steel rather than wood.
Repair work will also be undertaken on Lunds and Ais Gill viaducts whilst the track is closed.
The line faced an uncertain future in the 1980's and was earmarked for closure. Network Rail believes the line now has a bright future and it is heavily used by local commuters and tourists. Up to 22 trains a day also use the line to bring coal from Scotland to power stations in the Aire and Trent valleys.
Campaign group Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line also believe the route has a bright and profitable future. Spokesman Pete Shaw said: "While it is disappointing that the line is going to have to close for this work to be carried out, it does ensure the long-term future of the line, which is all important.
"Given the fact that not so long ago the line was in danger of closing for ever, the need to upgrade the track is testament to a remarkable turnaround in its prospects."
Passengers are advised to call national rail enquiries on 08457 48 49 50 or go to www.nationalrail.co.uk for details of services.