Freight train plan for Fleetwood

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.

The group behind plans to revive Fleetwood’s railway says the link could provide a freight service which would take pressure off one of Wyre’s most congested roads.

Poulton and Wyre Railway Society has produced a business plan outlining proposals for weekday diesel passenger service linking Fleetwood with Poulton, and eventually a weekend steam heritage service.

But the opening of the railway line between Fleetwood and Poulton could also open up possibilities of companies located along that route using carriages to carry industrial loads.

This could, potentially, take heavy goods vehicles off the congested A585 linking Fleetwood to Singleton and beyond, which carries so much traffic it has become a long-standing headache for Wyre and Fylde residents and businesses in Fleetwood.

Geoff Ogden, of the Railway Society, said: “By opening up the rail path between Fleetwood and Poulton, it would provide opportunities for the passenger service, the heritage railway and, should the demand be there, a freight service. The freight side would depend largely on how industries would wish to use it.

“Certainly, the possibility would be there and it would be up to businesses if they wanted to make use of it.”

This possibility was not lost on Coun Paul Hayhurst, county councillor for Fylde West Division, who lives in Elswick and read last week’s Weekly News story about the rail plans.

He said: “The A585 is a nightmare for residents living in my constituency around Elswick and Great Eccleston and other areas because of the sheer volume of traffic. A lot of that road traffic consists of lorries coming to and from the Global Renewables recycling plant in Thornton.

“I am sure the recycling plant is just one good example of how a freight service could take a lot of that traffic off the road.”

Derek Eaton, chairman of Fleetwood Chamber of Trade, added: “The freight side of things would be welcome but the passenger and steam side would be the priority at the moment.

“If we were able to get a steam passenger service
into Fleetwood, the tourism possibilities would be endless.”

The Society is looking for the green light from Wyre Council, Lancashire Country Council and Network Rail, before approaching funding bodies for the scheme.

With the cost of new track infrastructure estimated at less than £1m, the group hopes the weekday passenger service could be running within three years.