'Trains not trams' call ahead of debate on Blackpool South rail line

Plans to convert the Blackpool South line for use by trams would be too expensive, critics have said. Photo by Nodrog - www.nodrogvlogs.uk
Plans to convert the Blackpool South line for use by trams would be too expensive, critics have said. Photo by Nodrog - www.nodrogvlogs.uk
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An extension to Blackpool’s tramway must not come at the expense of the Fylde coast’s rail network, it has been warned.

Rail groups and Labour politicians have renewed calls for a passing loop on the Blackpool South line.

They say it would be cheaper and more beneficial than plans put forward by Conservative MP Paul Maynard to extend the tramway and convert the Blackpool South line for use by trams.

Mr Maynard, who represents Blackpool North and Cleveleys, said his proposal would mean more frequent services between Kirkham and Blackpool South.

But Coun Martin Mitchell will propose a motion at tonight’s full meeting of Blackpool Council calling for the town to unite behind calls for a new passing loop and improved stock on the railway.

Paul Nettleton, of Blackpool and Fylde Rail Users’ Association, said he wanted to “avoid at all costs” a situation where passengers have to change from train to tram to get into Blackpool.

He said a tram service “could put passengers off using the line because services would be inevitably at least half an hour slower than at present”.

Labour’s Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden, inset, said he had concerns about Mr Maynard’s plans and said a passing loop “could be engineered far more cheaply” and “bring even more holidaymakers into the town from outlying areas”.

Waterloo councillor David O’Hara said: “Blackpool South is ideally placed to become a transport hub for South Shore.”