'Feeble' excuses for Blackpool rail delay slammed

Network Rail staff working on the tracks to Blackpool North
Network Rail staff working on the tracks to Blackpool North
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Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden has written to rail bosses to complain about the delay to the re-opening of Blackpool’s main railway line.

And a Blackpool campaigner for disabled rail users has said the excuses given for the delay were “feeble”.

Trains were due to start running again between Blackpool North and Preston on March 26 but last week Network Rail said trains will not run until April 16 due to the breakdown of an engineering train and bad winter weather.

It means visitors to Blackpool over Easter will not be able to come by train which Mr Marsden said would be “damaging” to tourism in the resort.

Mr Marsden said: “I have little faith in their assurances even over the revised date – the council seem to have been told it will be April 10 while Northern Rail say in their note to me it will be April 16.

“With such ineptitude even over the date , what confidence can we have in anything else they have said?”

In a letter to Sharon Keith, the Regional Director of Northern Rail, Mr Marsden wrote: “The alleged reasons for this delay appear to be extremely vague. This is a particular blow to Blackpool at the start of our Easter holiday season , and especially on the back of the detailed assurances which both yourselves and Network Rail have continued to give right up until now.”

Stephen Brooke, who has been appointed Sector Champion for Rail by the Secretary of State for Disability. said: “To blame bad weather and breakdown of project resources is ludicrous. The project was scheduled to be performed over the winter months, so what were their expectations on weather?

"We have not witnessed any specific weather events which would constitute an abnormal force majeure event.”

Andrew Morgan, from Network Rail, said: “We continue to thank Northern and their customers for bearing with us. We are working around the clock to get train services back moving again.”