Fylde passengers set for rail boost

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Rail passengers across the Fylde coast are on track to get faster and more frequent trains linking the resort to areas across the north, transport chiefs claimed.

More trains, more seats, reduced congestion and improved stations are being promised as part of Network Rail’s £38bn investment.

On the London North Western route, which includes the North West 
region, more than £5.5bn of maintenance and investment will be carried out to make 

For passengers on the Fylde coast, the investment includes electrification of the Preston to Blackpool section of the line by 2016, which will allow the introduction of electric trains to destinations across the north of England.

An NR spokesman said: “The improvements in the infrastructure across the North West will benefit passengers travelling to and from Blackpool as it will be a more reliable network, journey time improvements in many areas and better connectivity.”

As part of the improvements, and to help meet the increasing number of passengers, extra carriages containing the equivalent of more than 25,000 extra seats into Manchester and nearly 7,000 extra seats into Liverpool, could be provided during the morning peak by 2019.

Around 21,000 people currently commute each week to Manchester and Merseyside from Lancashire, with passengers frequently complaining of overcrowding.

Rail Minister Stephen Hammond MP said: “I know the importance of the railways to the North West and I am determined passengers and businesses get the services they deserve.

“That is why we are putting record amounts of Government funding into our railways over the next five years.

“Improved stations, massive electrification and better infrastructure through projects like the £600m Northern Hub and £400m North West Electrification Programme will deliver quicker, cleaner and more reliable journeys and drive forward our long-term economic plans.”

Dyan Crowther, Network Rail’s route managing director, said: “Passenger numbers in recent years have grown far beyond predictions, so it’s vital that this investment over the next five years helps meet the increasing demand across the north west of England.”

Among improvements will be the redevelopment of Manchester Victoria station and a £20m platform upgrade at Manchester Airport.

The news comes two weeks after The Gazette reported how some newer TransPennine Express carriages were to be diverted to the south, which community leaders said would leave Lancashire with older rolling stock.