Angry Blackpool MP hits out at rail upgrade delays on Blackpool North line

Work ongoing at Blackpool North Station
Work ongoing at Blackpool North Station

A Blackpool MP has criticised rail bosses over the delays and confusion over the upgrade work on the Blackpool North line.

READ MORE: Bad weather blamed for three week delay on rail upgrade between Blackpool North and Preston

Gordon Marsden

Gordon Marsden

He spoke out after using one of the few trains on the line to get to the resort on Friday from London.

Just one train an hour has been using the line since reopening on April 16, and now replacement buses have been contracted to carry on in place of trains until May 20 when the new timetable is due to come into force with electric trains.

Blackpool South MPGordon Marsden said: “Frankly it doesn’t seem to be getting much better at Blackpool North. I came in to the station on Friday morning and the barriers were not working, the tickets not collected, the concourse looked a mess and at least 60 per cent of the traffic that should be going by train now is still going by bus.

“We want some urgent actual answers from Network Rail and Northern and not just generic statements about why this is taking so long, why they were so obviously out in their timings for completing the project.

“What we don’t want in Blackpool is the Whit bank holidays coming along and having this same situation because that would be disastrous.

“The replacement buses issue was left to the last minute and the information was dropped late on a Friday afternoon. Local MPs were not informed.”

Blackpool-based Stephen Brookes,who is the rail sector champion for disabled people, said: “Thank goodness the reliable and well praised Blackpool Transport bus replacement has been with fully accessible new double deck vehicles, but we now have these operating for two months longer than originally advised up to May 20.”

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “We remain on track to have the Blackpool North line ready for electric trains for the May 20 timetable change.”