Commuters across Lancashire are on track for better rail connections thanks to a cross-party group of MPs campaigning for the reinstatement of a rail line that once served communities in the region.
Conservative MPs for Southport and South Ribble, Damien Moore and Katherine Fletcher, have joined with Rosie Cooper and Sir Mark Hendrick, the Labour MPs for West Lancashire and Preston respectively.
The group, in conjunction with Geoff Driver, Leader of Lancashire County Council, are working together cross-party in the hopes of seeing the re-instatement of 1.4 miles of track at Burscough in West Lancashire that once linked the Southport-Wigan-Manchester and Liverpool-Ormskirk-Preston lines.
If given the go-ahead, the line could benefit around 300,000 travellers, which in turn would benefit the local economy – creating more jobs and helping to boost local business.
Talking about the plans, Southport MP Damien Moore said:
“These plans will benefit commuters across the region. Whilst Ormskirk enjoys a fast and frequent train service to and from Liverpool, for everyone else in West Lancashire the rail network usually offers disjointed and infrequent journeys.
“Travel by rail between Southport and Ormskirk and Southport and Preston requires not only a change of train, but also a change of station and line at Burscough, with an intervening walk of some 14 minutes or more along busy main roads.
“Alternative routes by rail are available but are indirect with lengthy journey times. For example, it takes over an hour to travel from Southport to Preston via Wigan and one hour and twenty minutes to travel between Southport and Ormskirk via Sandhills.”
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper added:
“Re-instating the Burscough Curves would transform rail travel across West Lancashire providing new links for rural communities like Scarisbrick as well as Burscough itself.
“Following the sizeable increase in housing in Burscough, re-connecting the Preston to Ormskirk branch with the Merseyrail network at Ormskirk will increase the attractiveness of rail for commuters into Liverpool, reducing the need to travel on the heavily congested A59.
“More frequent services to Preston will do likewise and benefit commuters from Ormskirk and Aughton also.”