Cast adrift in line upgrades

Landlord Harry Challinor at his pub The Derby Arms.
Landlord Harry Challinor at his pub The Derby Arms.
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A RURAL pub is bracing itself for a huge loss of business, as work is set to begin electrifying the Preston to Blackpool train line.

Electrification through Kirkham means that Carr Lane, the main route into Treales, and The Derby Arms, will be closed for three months, with work due to start on Wednesday.

Landlord Harry Challinor has warned of the “devastating impact” the bridge closure could have on his business.

He said: “We have had several meetings with Network Rail and they are just not willing to help. .

“We have had meetings with MP Mark Menzies, Fylde Council, and other groups to get round the situation, but nothing has come from it.

“It’s just going to have a devastating impact on my business.

“The diversions lead people through Clifton, past two other pubs, The Windmill and The Hand and Dagger, before getting to us.

“I’ve even had customers ringing up asking if we are closing, because of this issue.

“It really is damage limitation until the work is complete, especially ahead of what traditionally is a busy period before Christmas.”

Work on the track in Treales is due for completion in early December, as Network Rail begin the first stages in preparing the line for electrification ahead of May 2016.

Network Rail needs to reconstruct six road bridges, five footbridges, lower three sections of track and remove one bridge, which will provide the required clearance to install the overhead line equipment.

Coun Liz Oades said everything has been done to try and work around the situation.

She added: “Electrification to the line will bring great improvements to the track, but clearly there will be an impact upon Treales.

“We have had several meetings with Network Rail, which has pledged to try to reduce time taken on the track, even suggesting a new bus route to be put in place but they are not willing to compromise and pay for this.

“We have managed to keep Station Road Bridge open though, with it reduced to one lane with traffic lights in place in central Kirkham.”

Sim Lane-Dixon, public realm manager, said: “Some bridges must be closed for alteration or reconstruction while this work is carried out.”

Network Rail was unavailable for comment.

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