MP calls for better rail services serving resort

Gordon Marsden
Gordon Marsden
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A resort MP has joined calls for improvements to be made to rail services in and around Blackpool.

Gordon Marsden, who represents Blackpool South in Parliament, has spoken out after responding to a consultation on the future franchising of rail services on the Fylde coast, which are set to be decided next year.

Mr Marsden has called on ministers making the decision to help boost the town’s economic growth and improve passenger access, as well as the quality of rolling stock on trains.

He said: “Improved services should be seen as the essential driver for economic growth and other funding models for investment, as have been used in London, should be looked at.

“The animosity felt towards the so-called ‘pacer’ trains – especially at peak times of the travelling year in Blackpool, late summer and into the illuminations period - when they are crammed with both residents and visitors, often without additional capacity being added, cannot be exaggerated.”

Mr Marsden also reiterated calls made by the South Fylde Community Rail Partnership for a more frequent service to be offered on the line between Kirkham and Wesham, and Blackpool South - which he says would help to improve the economy of areas served by stations on the route.

The partnership has also called for a better system of ticket collection on the route, including more rounded provision for collecting from hose getting on trains at the unmanned Squires Gate station.

Mr Marsden added: “The beneficial outcome will be greater connectivity between the seaside and rural tourism offer to visitors to the Blackpool and Fylde area as well as increased residential and commuter traffic, which would not only bring in more revenue but also help revive the local economies of St Annes and Blackpool’s South Shore area.”

Three companies have been shortlisted to run the Northern franchise, while three companies are being considered for the TransPennine Express franchise - which both operate services on the Fylde coast.