MPs demand action on rail network

Fylde MP Mark Menzies has called for a disabled access lift at Kirkham and Wesham station.
Fylde MP Mark Menzies has called for a disabled access lift at Kirkham and Wesham station.

Two Fylde coast MPs have called for action from the Government to improve rail services in the region.

Paul Maynard, who represents Blackpool North and Cleveleys, called a debate in Parliament to address concerns over the state of the rail network.

MP Paul Maynard

MP Paul Maynard

He called for assurances that the Government is not “trying to downgrade” services in Blackpool and raised concerns over staff safety on trains in the resort.

He said: “I have been standing waiting for the train down to Euston on a Monday morning and had staff from the two rail companies come to me and raise very real concerns about staff safety.”

Fylde MP Mark Menzies also spoke during the debate to call for improvements to Kirkham and Wesham station, receiving assurances his request for a disabled access lift would be looked at.

Speaking after the meeting, he said it was “unacceptable” disabled passengers have to write to Network Rail to be reimbursed for the cost of getting a taxi to Poulton and using the lift there.

He added: “Having used Kirkham and Wesham Station on a number of occasions, it is plain that it has received little to no investment for a number of years. While some work was done recently to clear parts of the platform itself for the longer Virgin trains which now stop there, the facilities are still woefully inadequate.

“A promise was made a number of years ago to install a lift to make the platform accessible for disabled people, but this has never been delivered.”

Responding to the MPs’ questions, rail minister Claire Perry said she would look into the issues raised.

Fears for staff safety prompted Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard to write to the British Transport Police asking for more to be done to protect people on the resort’s trains.

Speaking in Parliament he said the first train of the day can often be the most dangerous as drunk people make their way home from a night out.

He said: “There are real concerns there are inadequate numbers of British Transport Police on the right trains at the right time.

“I did write to BTP on October 9 – I haven’t heard since, which is deeply disappointing.”

Rail minister Claire Perry said: “I will certainly raise this directly with the head of the BTP, Paul Crowther.”