‘Improve train services!’

Lytham train station.
Lytham train station.
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Passengers campaigning for more frequent rail services on the Fylde coast have called on network bosses to carry out the required work.

At present the single track South Fylde line, which runs from Blackpool South station to Kirkham and Wesham via St Annes and Lytham, has the capacity to run only one train per hour in each direction.

However, calls have been made to add a second track to the line, or alternatively provide passing loops which could allow an extra train each hour to run.

Barry Lees, from East Beach, Lytham, regularly uses Northern Rail services on the line between the town and Preston, which then go on to Burnley and Colne.

Mr Lees, 75, said: “A passing loop is desperately needed if we’re going to increase the frequency of the service.

“I’ve talked with a few friends and it seems east Lancashire gets a lot of investment and our side of the line seems to be totally forgotten.

When they come to look at the refranchising of it they just may say revenues are so small there is a danger in my book our side of the line might get cut out, but that would be totally negative.

“In places where they’ve increased the frequency passenger services have increased exponentially.”

Mr Lees has written to both Northern Rail and Fylde MP Mark Menzies on the subject.

Earlier this month Mr Menzies asked Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin what he planned to do about the updating of rolling stock on the line.

Mr McLouighlin replied more than 3,100 new carriages will be in service by the end of 2019.

Mr Lees added: “I would love to see a campaign on this.

“I personally think we get a very rough deal in this neck of the woods.

“Let’s press on and get something moving.”

Fylde councillor Coun Tony Ford chairs the South Fylde Community Rail Partnership.

He said: “We’ve been pressing for this for quite a long time.

“An increased frequency would be important because at the moment you end up with a wait at Preston for whatever train you want to catch.”

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “There are currently no plans to provide additional capacity and services to Blackpool South but we are working with Northern Rail to assess what options could be available in the future to meet the increased demand at certain times of the year, subject to funding being available.”