IT is not often you see train passengers happy and smiling on a Monday morning rush-hour train, but that very well might be the case today.

Fresh from suffering six weeks of engineering works, sluggish trains and replacement coaches, battle-hardened commuters on the Preston to Bolton line will be celebrating crossing the finish line, as services are return to normal.

That means the journey from Chorley to Bolton will take 13 minutes rather than the current 30 or 40 minutes.

It also means there will be five trains an hour, rather than one, and gone will be the dreaded replace-ment coaches.

My honest assessment of this testing six-week period is that Northern Rail, which ran all the services on the line, has done a good job.

Yes, it was inconvenient, especially the lack of choice of evening rush-hour services, but it did what it said it would: nothing went wrong with the reduced service.

One clever move from Northern Rail was to double the length of the carriages to reduce overcrowding and it worked a treat.

I am told the firm received the extra carriages from services on the same line that it has not been able to run during the works and so the trains will revert to normal size as of today.

While it has its foibles, Northern Rail does try to get things right and, after passengers experienced delays in early 2013, bosses gave all customers a free day of unlimited travel worth more than £200.

Perhaps it would be a nice gesture to do that again, though, it is unlikely in the wake of its recent money-saving announcement that off-peak tickets will be banned between 4pm and 6.30pm on weekdays as of next Monday.