IT is fair to say that commuters feared the worst when six weeks of engineering works began on the track between Bolton and Chorley last Monday.

But things have not been as dire as they could have been, or as bad as most expected.

It affected me in that, because I started work earlier than normal last week, I switched to the bus, as getting the train would have meant having to get up way too early, but I shall be back on the trains this week.

Having chatted with those who have used the train and kept an eye on social media, the general reaction to the inconvenience has been that of pleasant surprise.

Okay, there is only one train an hour in each direction, but the carriages are not as packed as people predicted because the services start and finish in Chorley, rather than being full by the time they leave Preston.

Jane Simpson, aged 46, of Southport Road, Chorley, works at a Bolton hair salon and takes the train to work three days a week. She said: “It’s not been that bad. I’m quite relieved.

“The only bad thing is that, if you miss your train, you’re either stuck at the station for an hour waiting for the next one, or you have to get on a replacement coach, which goes all around the houses and takes forever.”

It was all going so well until Friday, when trains were cancelled and delayed, though it was not related to the engineering works (it was a broken-down train between Salford Crescent and Bolton).

But overall, it has so far been a job well done in very difficult circumstances during works that will eventually lead to faster journeys and quieter and greener trains.