Transport Secretary Grant Shapps takes look at plans to improve rail services to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Lytham and St Annes

The case for a passing loop on the South Fylde rail line was laid out to Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps as he visited Squires Gate Station.

By Tony Durkin
Monday, 21st March 2022, 3:17 pm
Updated Monday, 21st March 2022, 3:17 pm

Fylde MP Mark Menzies and his Blackpool South counterpart Scott Benton outlined to the Secretary of State the proposals for the passing loop, which would improve reliability and deliver a half-hourly frequency on the line through Fylde to Blackpool Pleasure Beach and South.

Mr Shapps also met with volunteers from the Friends of Squires Gate Station and representatives of the Blackpool and Fylde Rail Users Association and was shown works taking place to restore the second platform at the station.

Mr Menzies said: “Delays and cancellations are happening every day.

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MPs Mark Menzies (left) and Scott Benton (right) with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps at Squires Gate station

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“The Secretary of State saw for himself the issues we have with services on the South Fylde line and why we so badly need a passing loop on the line, to release the enormous potential of the route.

“This was a fantastic opportunity to talk the Secretary of State through our proposals and what they mean for local passengers.”

The local MPs want to see a passing loop put in place between Lytham and Ansdell and Fairhaven which would allow trains to pass, on the move, between the two stations.

Mr Menzies said: “At the moment trains are turning around early or missing out stations in order to keep to time.

“In its current single track form the line is one long bottle neck of its own making.

“The Secretary of State was left in no uncertainty about what we need and agreed a reliable, frequent services is the best way to get people out of their cars and onto the train.

“That is what this investment will deliver.”

The Secretary of State also visited Blackpool Airport, meeting staff and managers at Westair and discussing how scheduled passenger flights could return.

Mr Menzies said: “The Secretary of State saw for himself the potential of Blackpool and knows now what the missing piece of the jigsaw is.

“We have a runway capable of handling commercial traffic but no passenger terminal. The Secretary of State was keen to explore options to bring passenger services back to Blackpool and, alongside other MPs, I will continue to make the case.”