Direct rail connections between Preston, Southport and Ormskirk could soon become a reality after proposals were recently submitted to the government.Advertisement
The comprehensive document ‘Restoring Your Railway: Ideas Fund Application for the Burscough Curves’ has outlined the substantial economic and social reasons behind connecting communities across Lancashire and Merseyside.
Connecting the communities would directly impact a third of a million local residents, and thousands of local businesses.
The proposals are sponsored by South Ribble Conservative MP Katherine Fletcher, Preston Labour Co-Operative MP Sir Mark Hendrick, Lancashire County Council Leader Councillor Geoff Driver CBE, Lancashire County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Environment and Planning Councillor Michael Green, and regional campaign group Ormskirk, Preston and Southport Travellers’ Association.
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The scheme would see the restoration of the Burscough Curves, relaying two miles of track to reinstate a two-way junction to allow the connections to reopen.
New services would use existing railway stations, and add to the separate case for a reopened station at Midge Hall in Leyland.
The scheme would open two new routes with an hourly service between Preston and Southport.
It would also create an extension of the existing Merseyrail Liverpool to Orsmkirk service, with a half hourly service on to Southport.
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The ‘high value, low cost’ project could be delivered within two year if it goes ahead, at a cost of up to £35million.
Rail services and this particular scheme are central to regional economic development and growth in the post-Covid pandemic recovery plans, as well as being essential to achieving zero carbon.
The scheme would greatly improve accessibility from the rest of Lancashire, the north of England and Scotland.
County Councilor Geoff Driver CBE, outgoing leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “This rail scheme would open up new opportunities for education and employment, particularly for people in Preston, West Lancashire and Southport.
“It would provide people with more travel options and reduce travel times for some journeys.
“We’re pleased that the county council is working with our partners to bring together the funding for this business case, which will clearly set out the benefits of the scheme.”
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