LEADERS hailed a planned stop in Kirkham as part of Virgin Rail proposals for a direct train line between Blackpool and London.
The Gazette revealed on Wednesday that the West Coast Mainline operator has submitted a bid to run two direct return services between the Fylde coast and the capital.
Kirkham Coun Elaine Silverwood said the plans were “excellent news”.
She added: “This proposal has been mooted ever since the electrification of the line between Blackpool and Preston.
“I think it’s absolutely excellent news for the area. I go to London frequently and it would be absolutely great for Kirkham. It helps people in many ways – you no longer have to park at Preston and incur charges, and people can walk to the station, leaving their car at home. Another factor is that there is no longer a 20-minute wait between trains at Preston. You can get on at Kirkham knowing it will go directly through to London.”
If approved by The Department for Transport, the first direct trains could be up and running by December – 10 years since the last direct service left Blackpool North bound for the capital.
The first trains will depart Blackpool North at 6.36am, arriving at London Euston at 9.33am.
The second service departs at 2.03pm arriving in London at 4.54pm.
Return trains are 10.33am arriving at Blackpool North at 1.35pm and 7.33pm arriving back in Blackpool at 10.18pm.
Kirkham Coun Liz Oades, (pictured), added: “I am absolutely delighted that it’s going to be the case, knowing that we will have very good rail services in Kirkham.
“I hope as part of the plans we will see a park and ride system for residents in rural areas to get to the station and that improvements are also made to the station facilities.
“I know many people I have spoken to hope to see a lift installed and better access for parents with prams, as well as more car parking.”