Petition to extend Fleetwood tram service along disused rail line launched
A petition has been launched calling for a new study to be commissioned looking into a tramway extension from Fleetwood to Poulton along the currently disused railway line.
David Smith, who started the petition, says the branch line has been neglected for years and he believes the tramway link to the Poulton railway station is best way to make use of the line.
However, the petition has been launched at the same time as another campaign which is calling for the return of Fleetwood’s actual rail link.
And some residents have voiced concerns about potential roadwork disruption.
That petition was started by Fleetwood Town Council member, Coun Mary Stirzaker, who believes the timing is now right to push for the return of the amenity which was finally axed in 1970.
With transport minister Chris Grayling recently announcing that sweeping new reforms could pave the way for the possible re-opening of lines axed by the Beeching Cuts of the 1960s, Coun Stirzaker says it is vital to launch the campaign now.
She said; “We are a town of more than 26,000 people who are literally at the end of the line. We are on a peninsular and at the mercy of terrible road infrastructures, with awful congestion.
However, Mr Smith points to the fact that the tramway now carries over five million passengers per year.
He said: “If the Poulton to Fleetwood line was opened as a light rail route, it would more provide benefits to the economy than the much-mooted new railway link ever could.
“A tramway could easily connect from the line directly in to Fleetwood’s high street businesses and residential areas, but a new railway would require a new station that would likely unable to be in an ideal location without large costs.
“This plan would introduce many new stops for residents than a train line, making it easier for people to reach services, including disabled passengers.”
Keith Lewin, a signer of the petition, wrote: “It seems a more logical, forward looking rather than nostalgic proposition and could benefit more of the communities it passes through.”
But Fleetwood resident Bob Boal said: “It is questionable if the rail link could ‘easily’ be joined to the tramway, and what about the traffic disruption it would cause?
“Where would the suggested link go and where would the funding come from?”