Train service back on track in MP victory

Blackpool South Station
Blackpool South Station
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A key commuter service is set to be reinstated after a meeting between a resort MP and rail chiefs.

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden has met senior managers of Northern Rail to discuss their services and rolling stock at the resort’s stations.

And Mr Marsden has revealed the recently discontinued 5.19am service between Blackpool South and Preston is set to be reinstated following the talks.

The service will once again allow commuters to catch trains from Preston, such as the 6.56am to London and the 6.44am to Manchester.

Under the current timetable, the earliest they can arrive in Preston to make connections to other destinations is 6.59am.

The service was axed after timetable changes in May led Network Rail to say there was a lack of capacity for the service on the line.

Mr Marsden, who serves as a Shadow Transport Minister, said: “There’s been strong concerns expressed locally, which as a regular train user in and out of Blackpool I share, about the need to maintain better services and capacity on Northern’s Blackpool South to Preston and onto the Colne line.

“At my meeting, in particular, I raised the scrapping of the 5.19am train from Blackpool South, which has happened due to Network Rail restrictions. This has left early morning commuters or travellers from there, Pleasure Beach and Squires Gate station with connection problems beyond Preston, Manchester and elsewhere.

“I’ve now had confirmation from Northern that this service will now be reinstated, at the latest, from the next timetable change in October.

“We also talked about the awful crowding there’s been on this line, especially with peak summer travel for Blackpool residents and visitors, so I welcome the decision for four coaches to be running at weekends for the peak summer season.”

The news has been welcomed by Paul Nettleton, chairman of the Blackpool and Fylde Rail Users Association.

He said: “He’s done well and it’s a victory for common sense and the commuters because I got a lot of earache about that.

“I had letters from commuters who work shifts and they were particularly upset.”