COMMUTERS have reacted with anger to news that they face two years of major disruption on the Preston to Manchester line — warning it means more overcrowding and longer journey times.

Network Rail announced their plans to electrify the 175-year-old line as part of a £400 million scheme to improve journey times.

The work — due to start at Chorley on Sunday, December 8 — will mean changes to services at Bolton, Horwich Parkway and Lostock.

Andrea Tidsey commutes from Lostock station to Manchester every day and said the work will be disastrous for railway passengers. The 39-year-old from Farnworth said: “It’s going to be awful.

“We have no idea how we are going to get to work.

“If I thought it was going to improve things I might support it, but it won’t. It’s not worth the disruption.”

Chantelle Peers, aged 38, said she has met several people on the platform who have been disciplined at work for being late due to train delays.

She said: “I’ve only just started working in Manchester and trying to combine dropping my daughter off for school and getting to work on time is already tough.

“These plans will make things worse.

“When you are boarding the train at Bolton it’s sometimes too busy to even get on the train.”

The work will see Scottish services travelling through Bolton gradually shifting to go through Wigan.

Station Road in Blackrod is set to be closed for four months next year while electrification work takes place.

In late 2014/15, the tunnel at Farnworth will see major work for almost six months — meaning there will only be one railway line for trains in both directions.

Cllr David Chadwick, Bolton Council’s cabinet member for transport, said while currently up to 40 trains pass through that tunnel during peak hours, just six will be able to go through at 20mph while the work is carried out.

Buses will be used to replace the cancelled trains.

He said: “Bolton has wanted to have a first class train service and with the work we will hopefully now get it.

“It’s short-term pain for long-term gain.

“Whereas before they would have been four carriages, that will increase to eight depending on the time of day, and the trains are going to be quicker and more environmentally friendly.”