TRAINS will return to Bolton on Saturday for the first time in three weeks as engineering work comes to an end.

Engineers from Network Rail announced in late November that the railway would have to be shut for a further three Saturdays - from November 24 to December 8 - just weeks after it has supposedly reopened.

During that period all trains were replaced with buses.

Now, passengers will again be able to get trains from Bolton stations but the number of services will limited until next year because of a string of strikes run by the RMT union.

The strike will mark the 40th day of action in the union's dispute with Northern - the company which operates the region's trains.

The two parties are in disagreement about the role of conductors or a second member of staff on trains.

Northern says this weekends, strike will results in very few trains operating after 5pm.

In Bolton there will be four trains each hour running to and from Manchester, with the last service at 5.35pm from Manchester Victoria. These services are expected to be extremely busy.

David Brown, managing director at Northern, said: “By the end of December, we will have had 19 consecutive Saturdays of RMT strike action. This targeted action disrupts our customers’ lives. But, as we enter a vital period for businesses, it also damages the economic wellbeing of the north of England.

“We have fantastic colleagues who have supported customers by keeping our trains running on each of the RMT strike days. We are aiming to keep as many people moving as possible and ensuring customers can still travel into the biggest towns and cities for the big seasonal events including Christmas markets – but with very few services running after 5pm."

Following last Saturday's action RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “I want to pay tribute to RMT members across Northern Rail on this 39th day of strike action.

"It is their sheer guts and resilience that has kept the fight for safe and accessible rail travel for all across the Northern franchise in the spotlight while the company continue to duck and dive and refuse to face up to the key issues."