Train station revamp could deter vandals

Tony Ford, chairman of the South Fylde Community Rail Partnership, at the station.
Tony Ford, chairman of the South Fylde Community Rail Partnership, at the station.
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Thousands of pounds could be spent on upgrading Blackpool South railway station to improve it and deter vandals.

CCTV cameras, a new waiting shelter, artwork by local school pupils, planters and extra cycle storage are among the improvements being looked at by a partnership including Northern Rail, Network Rail and the South Fylde Community Rail Partnership.

It is hoped the CCTV could help to prevent a repeat of an incident in September 2012, when vandals set light to the existing waiting shelter, which has since been repaired.

An embankment which has become a flytipping hotspot could also be cleared, while Blackpool Council is working with local businesses with a view to tidying up the area around the station and its car park.

A station ‘Friends’ group could also be formed.

Craig Harrop, Northern Rail’s client and stakeholder manager, said: “The station area is a little bit run down at the moment but the situation is recoverable.

“The CCTV will help to prevent vandalism and provide added security, including for the extra bikes that will be stored at the station.

“The idea is that local school children could produce the artwork and we think that the knowledge that kids have been involved could also help deter vandals.

“Ideally, we hope the station will be adopted by the local rail user group and local businesses and that a Friends of Blackpool South group will be set up to help keep an eye on things and do a bit of planting.

“These improvements will make using the train a nicer experience for existing passengers and encourage more people to use the service.”

The CCTV and storage for 10 extra bicycles is being paid for by a Department for Transport grant.

The remainder of the works are dependent upon a successful bid to the Community Rail Development Fund managed by Network Rail, which is due to be submitted in April.

If the bid succeeds, the improvements could be made before the summer.

Tony Ford, chairman of the South Fylde Community Rail Partnership, said: “We welcome improvements to any stations along the line which will encourage more people to use the trains.”

He added: “Our long-term ambition remains to increase services from hourly to twice hourly.”

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