Barry’s shout out for direct trains

Town crier Barry McQueen and nine-year-old Alice Weston of Bispham drumming  up support for The Gazette's On Track to the Capital campaign in the town centre.

Town crier Barry McQueen and nine-year-old Alice Weston of Bispham drumming up support for The Gazette's On Track to the Capital campaign in the town centre.

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Blackpool town crier Barry McQueen got the message across loud and clear when he joined up with The Gazette’s campaign to reinstate the Blackpool to London direct train link.

Barry urged town centre shoppers to sign The Gazette’s petition, launched after the rail regulator threw out a bid by Virgin Trains to restore a direct service between the resort and the capital.

He said: “Sir Richard Branson has been trying for a long time to get this service back for Blackpool and everyone is in favour apart from the railway authority.

“We are the premier resort in Great Britain and it is a terrible shame you cannot get a direct train from London to Blackpool.

“So today I am here to say to everyone, come and sign the petition and show your support so we can get this route restored.”

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

Among those quick to sign the petition was Gary Baker, 45, who was on a two-week family holiday in Blackpool from his home in Essex.

He said: “We travel from London every year for a holiday in Blackpool and it would be so much easier for us if there was a direct train.

“Lots of people in London want to come up here so I think it would definitely help tourism.”

Judith Shields, of Whinney Heys Road, Blackpool, also signed up.

She said: “My son and my sisters live in London and so a direct train connection would be a lifeline for us.

“It would make getting to the capital so much easier than having to always change at Preston.”

Visitors also gave their backing.

Pauline Kirby, from Barnoldswick, said: “I think it would bring more visitors from London because a lot of people from the south want to come to the town.”

Elizabeth McKillop, from the Vale of Leven in Scotland, said: “It would be ideal for us because if we were staying for a week in Blackpool, we could use the train to go to London since we are already half-way there.”