Railway group makes final train payment

Train similar to the one coming to Fleetwood.
Train similar to the one coming to Fleetwood.

The train which is planned to roll back into Fleetwood as part of the town’s returning rail link has now been paid for.

The target has been reached more quickly than expected and comes after a story in the Weekly News led to offers of support.

In December it was revealed that Poulton and Wyre Railway Society had come to an arrangement with the owners of a two-carriage diesel train, which allowed them to acquire it despite needing extra cash to buy it outright.

They put down two-thirds of the cash on the £15,000 diesel multiple unit and expected to pay the final £5,000 off within the next 12 months.

But they have already achieved it.

The group now needs £13,000 to get the 1970s vehicle up to scratch so it can pass the equivalent of its MOT.

However, Eddie Fisher, recently appointed president of the Society, said: “It is tremendous that we have been able to pay it off so quickly and I would like to thank everyone concerned, including the Weekly News.

“The final piece in the jigsaw was when County Councillor Jim Lawrenson came up with the last £1,300.

“It takes the pressure off and means we can spend more time getting it right.”

The success of the project would see the rail link finally returning to Fleetwood since it was scrapped over 40 years ago.

The Railway Society plan is to provide a heritage railway in the area, initially between Thornton and Burn Naze where there is existing track as well as established platforms.

But it is hoped to then extend the line to the south end of Fleetwood - at least as far as Chris Allen’s Garage - and also to Poulton.

It will mean that passengers can catch the train in Fleetwood, travel to Poulton, and then step across a platform to join the main rail network to the rest of the country.

Mr Fisher hopes the first phase at Thornton and Burn Naze could even be up and running by December this year, if all goes to plan.

It is hoped the trail to Fleetwood can be finished within five years, although the total infrastructure cost of this would be half a million.

The group will be looking for funding bids to pay for this work.

The group’s train is currently stored at Butterley, Derbyshire, where the MOT work will be carried out by Llangollen Railcars Ltd, an organisation which repairs trains.

The Class 108 train, identical to those which would have operated in Fleetwood in the early 1970s, comprises two carriages which are both self-powered by diesel engines, with a driver’s cab at either end.

It needs some body work repairs and a full re-paint in its original British Rail green livery.

If anyone is able to help the rail scheme, they can write to: Sponsor a train to Fleetwood appeal.

Poulton & Wyre Railway Society, C/O The Print Room, Hillhouse Business Park, Thornton, FY54QD.

Sponsorship forms are available on the PWRS website at www.pwrs.org. The group says it would make it easier to process donations if they use the form.