Kirkham on London route

Coun Elaine Silverwood at Kirkham and Wesham station
Coun Elaine Silverwood at Kirkham and Wesham station

A DIRECT service between Blackpool and London is set to be restored by Virgin Rail – with a stop at Kirkham and Wesham confirmed as part of the plans.

The West Coast Mainline operator has submitted a bid to run two direct return services between the Fylde and the capital.

Kirkham Coun Elaine Silverwood hailed the plans as “excellent news” for the borough.

She said: “This proposal has been mooted ever since the electrification of the line between Blackpool and Preston was announced..

“I think its absolutely excellent news for the area. I go to London frequently and it its absolutely great news for Kirkham. It helps people in many ways – you no longer have to park at Preston – people can walk to the station, leaving their car at home.

“Another factor is there is no longer a 20-minute wait between trains at Preston. You can get on at Kirkham knowing it 
will go directly through to London.”

The first trains will depart Blackpool North at 6.36am, arriving at London Euston at 9.33am.

The second service departs at 2.03pm arriving in London at 4.54pm.

Return trains are 10.33am arriving at Blackpool North at 1.35pm and 7.33pm arriving back in Blackpool at 10.18pm.

If approved by the Department for Transport, the first direct services will be up and running by December – 10 years since the last direct Virgin service left Blackpool North station bound for the capital.

Kirkham Coun Liz Oades added: “I’m absolutely delighted.

“I hope that as part of the plans we will see a park and ride system for residents in rural areas to get to the station and that improvements are also made to the station facilities.”

A spokesman for Virgin said: “By December this year we would like to run two daily direct services to Blackpool.

“We have submitted the proposal to the Department for Transport, 
Network Rail and the 
Office of Rail 
Regulation.”

If granted, the trains would start running in December when the timetable comes into force.