An ambitious bid to restore Fleetwood’s rail link has been dealt a major blow after metal thieves struck.
Offenders stole the wheels off the flat back rail trucks which Poulton and Wyre Railway Society volunteers use to tidy up existing rail tracks between Fleetwood and Poulton.
The theft sparked anger among PWRS members because the aluminium wheels are specialist items which are not easy to replace – and the theft has now stalled their progress towards ensuring the rail link is restored.
Aside from putting together a detailed business plan aimed at running a rail link between Fleetwood and Poulton, the group spend hours clearing the existing tracks of weeds and rubbish, ready for when the rail service can be restored.
The theft occurred at Burn Naze railway station, Thornton, between Saturday, July 6 and Wednesday, July 10, when the trucks had been chained to the tracks.
Fleetwood man Glenn Spindler, a trustee member of the group and a locomotive engineer, said: “It is really disappointing and has put us back a fair bit.
“These rail trucks are used by us to move equipment up and down the line so we can clear the brush and move the rubbish on the track bed, and they make the job a lot easier.
“We have the whole line to maintain from Fleetwood’s Jameson Road all the way to Poulton, so these were an essential piece of kit.
“Three of the four wheels were taken, presumably for scrap, and were worth about £3 to £5 at most. That isn’t a lot of money, but to replace them is going to be difficult as they are no longer easily available.”
Mr Spindler said the truck had been chained to the tracks at Burn Naze to stop them being stolen, but the chain did not go through the wheels. It is thought the intruders were disturbed before they could take the final wheel.
The PWRS’s business plan to revive the Fleetwood link has now been forwarded to stakeholders from Wyre and Lancashire County councils, as well as one of the landowners, Associated British Ports. If the groups back the scheme, funding bids can begin.