RAIL passengers are being warned to plan their journeys in advance ahead of a 16 day blockade at Bolton train station.

From tomorrow the station will be closed to the majority of services as part of ongoing work to upgrade the Manchester to Preston line and bring an extra platform back into use.

Trains will not run in or out of Bolton until August 28 as Network Rail reinstates platform five.

In the run-up to the closure,Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is advising travellers to check their journey times in advance.

Demand management and safer travel manager, John Fryer, said: "If you are using train services which run to or through Bolton, or are travelling in the surrounding area, you could be affected by the closure.

"To help minimise disruption and ensure a smoother journey our advice is to plan ahead, be prepared, and think about all your travel choices.

"We strongly advise that people check the National Rail and Network Rail website for regular service updates and information."

The fortnight of delays clashes with the Bolton Food and Drink Festival, which brought in more than 263,000 visitors to the town centre last year and will be held from August 25 to 28.

It is also expected to cause problems for passengers trying to reach the city centre and Manchester Airport.

To help tackle the travel chaos, bus services will be running from outside of the station on Newport Street from stands A-C to replace trains heading to Manchester, Blackburn/Clitheroe/Colne, Preston/Blackpool/The North and Wigan/Southport/Kirby.

Starting at 5.55am tomorrow, the bus departures have been timed to mirror the departure times of the affected trains.

However, trains will still run from Bolton to Blackburn and Clitheroe during weekdays.

The bus services which usually run from the A-C stands will be moved to a temporary stop on Newport Street.

Passengers are also advised to use the park and ride Metrolink services available at Bury, Radcliffe and Whitefield. with trams running into the city centre from around 6am every day until late.

Anyone looking for travel information and timetables can visit the National Railway website or visit www.tfgm.com, call 0161 244 1000 or follow @OfficialTfGM on Twitter.

TfGM said it would be helping to manage the expected increase in traffic by monitoring congestion levels and altering traffic signal timings accordingly to improve flow.

It is also working with local authorities’ highways departments to temporarily suspend roadworks where possible on the region’s main commuter routes.