MP quizzes rail chiefs over line closure

Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden
Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden
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Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden has called for a Sunday service on the Preston to Blackpool South line when services resume at the end of January.

During a meeting with Northern and Network Rail chiefs about closures while work to electrify the line is carried out, Mr Marsden also quizzed them about the operation of the rail replacement buses.

The line to Blackpool South will re-open at the end of January, but the line to Blackpool North will remain closed until Easter.

Mr Marsden said: “It’s good the route from Blackpool South into Preston will reopen, but at the moment there will be no Sunday services on it.

“I have told Northern that I think since it will be the only way people can get by train from Blackpool during this period, they should look at putting a Sunday service on.

“This is a long but necessary closure for the electrification work, so it’s essential Blackpool is seen to remain open for business - for residents as well as holiday and business visitors.”

Mr Marsden added: "I have been over in considerable detail with them as to how the replacement buses will operate, and particularly arrangements for access for people with disabilities and mobility problems.

"I have pressed Northern Rail in particular to make sure signage at Preston is much clearer than it has been with previous closures and to make sure staff are on hand at all times to help people arriving from Virgin and other trains there to come to Blackpool.

"The general level of posters and communication I've seen prepared seems good, but I've asked Network Rail to make sure replacement timetables are available in decent sized print so everyone can read them easily as well as online.

"I've also queried why some of the late night bus services are scheduled to take up to one hour and 20 minutes from Preston to Blackpool - more than twice as slow as the existing rail journeys."