RAIL travel between the Lake District and Manchester is set to return to normal after services were disrupted following a heritage train derailment in Salford.
All trains to and from Lake District stations, and Oxenholme, were starting and finishing at Preston.
But Network Rail confirmed that a plan for returning the line back to normal service has 'progressed extremely well'.
First Transpennine Express (FTPE) - which operates Windermere to Manchester trains - said it was expecting to run a normal train service from late afternoon through tonight's evening peak.
A spokesman said: "There may be some residual delays as we get trains and crew in the correct place but this should be minimal."
Nick Donovan, FTPE managing director, said: "This has been a challenging couple of days for rail travellers across the North West of England, who have had to experience some significant disruption.
"We are delighted to have the line back and be able to start to resume a normal train service from Manchester through to the northwest.
"Colleagues from FTPE, Network Rail and Northern Rail have all work extremely hard to ensure the line has been returned as quickly and as safely as possible. I want to thank them all for their efforts over the last couple of days.
"I also want to thank customers for their patience, understanding and support."
An empty heritage passenger train, owned by West Coast Railways, was travelling from Ardwick to Carnforth when its rear engine burst into flames on a bridge on Wilburn Street, Salford, at around 2.45pm on Wednesday.
Four people - a driver, engineer and two others - were on board but managed to walk off 'safe and well', Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said.
A witness said: “There were flames leaping out of the diesel unit and billowing into the sky.”
Some 40 firefighters in four appliances were sent to the scene.
British Transport Police (BTP) confirmed the train was a charter service run by West Coast Railways.
Station Manager Paul Etches, of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said: "It was quite a significant fire in the sense that it was a fire on a train which isn't the norm.
"Luckily there weren't any casualties and we are told the four people that walked off the train are safe and well.
"Crews quickly brought the fire under control to stop it spreading to the other carriages using jets and foam branches.
"Firefighters will remain on the scene dampening down and assisting BTP with their inquiries."
The incident disrupted train services in and out of Manchester across the North West and caused local roads to be closed
It is believed the train had a diesel engine at the front and back with six carriages in between.
A British Transport Police (BTP) spokesman said: "BTP officers were called to the rail line close to Wilburn Street, Salford, following a report of a train carriage on fire.
"BTP and Greater Manchester Police officers attended the incident, which was reported to BTP at 2.45pm.
"One of the carriages of the train, a chartered service run by West Coast Railways, has derailed from the rail line but remains upright.
"No passengers were on board the train at the time of incident and the driver is safe and well.
"Officers, along with other emergency services and agencies, will be working to establish the full circumstances."
The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has been informed.
West Coast Railways runs several heritage train services across the country.
(Pictures courtesy of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service).