MP calls for extra trains

MP Gordon Marsden at his office in South Shore.
MP Gordon Marsden at his office in South Shore.
Have your say

A campaign to increase the frequency of trains between Blackpool South and Preston have received political support.

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden has added his voice to those calling for improvements to the South Fylde line.

As reported in The Gazette yesterday, calls have been made to add a second track to the line, or alternatively provide passing loops which could allow an extra train each hour to run.

Mr Marsden believes a better service on the line would provide a much-needed boost for South Shore’s shopping areas, including Waterloo Road and Bond Street.

He said: “It is actually really important, because the traders and councillors in South Shore have been spending a lot of time in the last year improving the station, trying to get Waterloo Road and Bond Street back into contention as active shopping areas.

“They’re shopping areas not just for people coming into Blackpool, but for Lytham and St Annes. There are strong potential benefits to improving the line.”

Mr Marsden has joined Fylde MP Mark Menzies in writing to Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport, to request a meeting discussing the issue.

He added: “The clear issue is to get Northern Rail to give a higher priority for the line.

“I’ve long thought improving the line would relieve pressure into the centre of Blackpool.”

The calls have also been backed by Blackpool councillor and transport campaigner Coun Paul Galley.

He said: “I see Blackpool South (railway station) as helping regenerate some of the poorer areas of Blackpool, such as Lytham Road and the Central Drive corridor.

“I’ve always said that line is such a key thing for helping some of our deprived areas.

“At the moment, we have an hourly service but, despite that, passenger numbers have increased, and that’s without any investment going into the line. That shows the potential there if there is a half-hourly service.”

Network Rail says that while there are currently no plans to build more tracks on the line, it is working with operator Northern Rail to explore other ways of meeting increased demand at certain times of year.