Tram link is ‘good news’ for line

Pictures Martin Bostock'Poulton and Wyre Railway Society members, Eddie Fisher (left)  and Geoff Ogden wit hthe ongoing restoration of Thornton railway crossing.
Pictures Martin Bostock'Poulton and Wyre Railway Society members, Eddie Fisher (left) and Geoff Ogden wit hthe ongoing restoration of Thornton railway crossing.

Enthusiasts behind plans to re-open the Poulton to Fleetwood railway line have welcomed the news the tram system will be connected to Blackpool North railway station.

The Poulton and Wyre Railway Society said the new link is positive news for Fleetwood.

They also say it will take the pressure off to provide a commuter service from Poulton to Fleetwood, allowing them to concentrate on creating a heritage line.

Eddie Fisher chairman of the group said: “The new connection will enable people to access trams to Fleetwood straight from the train station in Blackpool. It’s positive news, communities will be connected to to main railway network, it has to be good.

“It won’t affect what we are doing, we are working on providing a heritage service.

“We can quietly get on with what we are doing in the background.”

A £16.4m windfall to extend Blackpool’s tramway from the Promenade to the resort’s main railway station is part of almost £90m of funding allocated for improvements to the road and rail networks on the Fylde Coast over the next decade.

The tramway would go from North Pier and along Talbot Road to the railway station. It is now up to Blackpool Council to find the remaining £1.8m to fund the scheme. Work could begin in 2015.

Fleetwood MP Eric Ollerenshaw said: “Any connectivity for Fleetwood to the main rail network is good. It also adds to any future plans of a direct rail link from London to Blackpool. A link like this will revive interest in the Poulton to Fleetwood line, which I think will eventually become a tramway, to provide a circular link around the peninsular and an extension to the rest of the Fylde Coast.”

A revised business plan for PWRS heritage line is currently being assessed by the three stakeholders in the project - Wyre Borough Council, Lancashire County Council and Network Rail.

The original plan needed a few questions answering and it is hoped once they have been done and the plan approved, work on the project could start when the electrification of the Preston to Blackpool line gets underway. The heritage line will be a shuttle service from Poulton to Fleetwood but the line will not be linked to the main line at Poulton. It will, however, have its own platform. PWRS secretary Geoff Ogden said: “There has been a groundswell of interest in re-opening the line. We are hopeful the business plan will be approved.