MP welcomes return of full Sunday timetable but calls for reliable services on South Fylde line

A Fylde coast MP has called on a train operator to do better with its services following cancellations of some trains.

By Tim Gavell
Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 3:45 pm

Fylde MP Mark Menzies has welcomed the return of a full Sunday timetable on the South Fylde rail line but urged train company Northern to make sure the trains actually run.

From May 15, Northern will operate hourly trains between Blackpool South and Preston, calling at Squires Gate, St Annes, Ansdell and Fairhaven, Lytham, Moss Side and Kirkham. Blackpool Pleasure Beach will also be served.

The Sunday services have only been operating every two hours since special timetables were introduced during the Covid pandemic.

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A Sprinter train in Ansdell and Fairhaven Station on the South Fylde Line

The South Fylde line has a cancellation rate significantly higher than the national average and in recent weeks trains have regularly been axed at short notice.

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Mr Menzies said: “The events last weekend, St Annes Food and Drink Festival and the Fairhaven Lake Open Day, were very well attended. We need to have reliable, regular public transport to make sure visitors and locals alike are able to make the best of what Fylde has to offer.”

Earlier this year Mr Menzies called on rail operator Northern to restore the missing services and he says it is essential they stick to their word.

Fylde MP Mark Menzies

He said: “The line continues to suffer from too many delays and cancellations. These cannot just be services which are restored on paper, they have to actually operate.

“People need to know that when they plan to travel the train will turn up. The service has to be robust and reliable or people will not use it.”

Mr Menzies is continuing to campaign for a doubling of frequencies along the line and believes there is huge potential along the route if a loop could be built to allow trains to pass each other and therefore permit more than just one an hour running on the line at a time.

He said: “A bid is in right now with the Department for Transport for a passing loop which would allow two trains an hour between Blackpool South and Preston.

“That would create a real turn up and go railway, unlocking passenger potential.

“For that to succeed we need a reliable service, something Northern must commit to delivering for South Fylde passengers.”