Blackpool MP’s delight as disused Fleetwood to Poulton railway looks on track for return

A Blackpool MP has welcomed the news that the reopening of the Fleetwood to Poulton rail connection has come one step closer.

By Tim Gavell
Monday, 20th June 2022, 12:30 pm
MP Paul Maynard has welcomed the announcement that the bid to get a rail link to Fleetwood restored ahs moved a step forward
MP Paul Maynard has welcomed the announcement that the bid to get a rail link to Fleetwood restored ahs moved a step forward

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard, who has been championing a light rail system for the mothballed rail bed as it would allow more services an hour, and said he was delighted that the Government’s Restoring Your Railways fund scheme had green-lighted the coast bid for progress.

He said: “As one of nine projects announced that are moving forward to the delivery phase, I am immensely satisfied that the hard work not just of myself over many years but also Wyre and Lancashire Councils, the staff at Blackpool Transport and the volunteers at the Poulton and Wyre Railway Society have put in.

“It is a major achievement to be one of the selected projects, and it will make a massive difference to the regeneration prospects of Thornton and Fleetwood. It also brings one step closer the tramloop for the whole of the Fylde Coast which I have been arguing for.

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Mr Maynard favours a light rail solution as it would allow more vehicles an hour than a heavy rail system

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“We are the only part of the country with its own dedicated cabinet sub-committee, and it is due to this fact that projects such as this are given the cross-government momentum to move forward. I hope there is much, much more to come for the Fylde Coast.”

Fleetwood’s rail link to Poulton was scrapped in 1970 as part of the controversial Beeching cuts which saw a number of stations throughout the country, leaving the port as one of the largest towns in the UK not to have a direct rail connection. Three years ago, 3,000 residents signed a petition to have the link restored and Fylde coast MPs including Mr Maynard have campaigned to get the town reconnected.

Now the Minister of State for Transport Wendy Morton confirmed the development. She said: “Following funding to support submission of a Strategic Outline Business Case for the scheme, the Fleetwood SOBC has been assessed and I am pleased to say that the department would like to support the further development of the scheme by providing further funding from the Restoring Your Railway Fund.

Campaigners started a petition to reinstate the Fleetwood to Poulton rail link three years ago

"The Department will therefore be instructing Network Rail to lead a limited and focused study on these issues to support a decision on advancing the scheme to Outline Business Case development."

She said funding would be provided to Network Rail to work in collaboration with Lancashire County Council and other key stakeholders including Blackpool Transport to move the scheme forward.

An initial study by the county council was sent to the Government which offered three options for restoring the link – normal “heavy” rail using trains, extending the coast’s tram network from Fleetwood to Poulton and a tram/train hybrid scheme with light rail vehicles operating on both light and heavy tracks.