BUSINESS leaders have welcomed news that thousands of extra seats will be added to the West Coast main line.
And they hope the extra capacity will bring tourists - and business - to the Fylde coast.
Three extra Virgin Pendolino trains – with at least 439 seats each – will run between Glasgow Central and London Euston every weekday in July, August and September.
The first of the extra weekday services will be introduced on July 2 with the maximum number operating after July 27.
Karen Hattie, Virgin Trains general manager for Scotland and North England, said: “The extra trains will offer at least one departure an hour on the busiest dates and this will be welcome for the growing number of travellers.”
When Virgin Trains started operating the West Coast franchise in 1997, there were eight northbound and seven southbound trains each weekday between Glasgow Central and London Euston. Now there are 13 each way, set to rise to 16 in both directions this summer.
The extra capacity has been welcomed by business leaders.
Howard Lewis (left) of the Blackpool Business Leadership Group said: “It’s excellent news.
“We get a lot of tourists that come by rail and it means there’s been an extra demand for seats in the area.”
And Hugh Evans of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, based on Blackpool Business Park, said: “It’s great news and a step towards a direct rail link between Blackpool and London again.
“Journey times have come down a lot – it’s two and a quarter hours from London to Preston now which means it’s much quicker and more attractive for people to come to Blackpool for pleasure and work.”
This week, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls also called for yet more investment in the £560m Northern Hub rail improvement project.
He said: “A cross party committee of MPs are putting pressure on the government for more money for this project.”