Rail link bid ‘a multi million pound call’

Hugh Evans, policy director for the North and Western chamber of commerce, signing The Gazette's On Track To The Capital petition

Hugh Evans, policy director for the North and Western chamber of commerce, signing The Gazette's On Track To The Capital petition

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The Fylde coast will lose out on millions of pounds in business and tourism if the direct rail link between Blackpool and London is not restored, commerce chiefs warned today.

A final rallying cry has been made for people across the Fylde coast and beyond to sign up to our On Track To The Capital campaign, before we present our petition to rail chiefs in London.

Hugh Evans, policy director at the North and Western Chamber of Trade and Commerce, has urged those who have yet to sign to get on board, describing Network Rail’s current stance as “a slap in the face”.

Speaking about the possible financial cost to Blackpool’s economy if the decision isn’t overturned, Mr Evans said: “It would certainly be in the millions over the long term.

“Blackpool needs a strong, first class link to other parts of the country, particularly the South East.

“The town needs to broaden its market appeal and the only way that it’s going to do that is if it’s quick, easy and efficient to get to.”

Mr Evans called on those yet to sign our petition to make their mark, adding: “There’s a quote by Henry Ford – ‘If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.’

“The only way we’re going to get things going in Blackpool is by working together to promote Blackpool, and that means getting off the fence and doing something about it.”

Steve Pye, chairman of the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre branch of the Federation of Small Businesses, echoed his call.

He said: “At the moment I would say the impact of us not getting this is having exactly what we’ve got.

“If it goes ahead we should be able to attract more investors to come here because we’ll be that much closer to London.

“People wouldn’t have to go through the aggravation and stress of changing.”

Transport enthusiast and Anchorsholme ward councillor Paul Galley also believes the link would boost employment in the town, saying it will being more people here.

Coun Galley said: “It’s hard to put a figure on it but we aren’t doing it because we want a railway service to London for the sake of it.

“People will come here and spend money, which will create new jobs.”

CLICK HERE TO SIGN THE GAZETTE’S PETITION FOR A DIRECT RAIL LINK BETWEEN BLACKPOOL AND LONDON.