Junction work could end port rail link dream

Rail electrification work by Network Rail
Rail electrification work by Network Rail

Railway firm Network Rail is planning to remove a junction at Poulton which could end the dream of rail campaigners to relink Fleetwood to the main network.

Some rail users are proposing a campaign to try and save the junction, to keep the dream of a port link alive.

It appears some intensive lobbying will be required if a heavy rail connection to Fleetwood is to be preserved

Roger Ducat, secretary of the Blackpool and Fylde Rail Users Association, opposes any loss of the junction.

Mr Ducat said: “It appears some intensive lobbying will be required if a heavy rail connection to Fleetwood is to be preserved.

“We believe removing the junction is not in the long term public interest and would prevent Fleetwood ever being brought back into use as part of the main railway network.”

But another group actively working to set up a heritage railway at Fleetwood, say the loss of the junction may not be as bad as it seems.

Poulton and Wyre railway Society (PWRS) have put forward alternative plans which would create a new platform at Poulton station, as well as creating more parking space.

Eddie Fisher, chairman of PWRS, said: “Although it would be a shame to see that junction lost if Network Rail presses ahead, we do have alternative plans.

“We want to see a new platform created which would mean that once we have set up our rail link between Fleetwood and Poulton, passengers from the port could get off at Poulton, and take just a few steps to catch a train to Preston or London.

“It would mean that even if we lost the direct link on the tracks, people could still get a train from Fleetwood and quickly join up with the main network via a cross-platform arrangement.

“It would require a few changes at the station, but we hope to convince Network Rail and may even campaign to try and make it possible. There could also be a way to create a new junction later, even if the current one is lost.”

Network Rail want to remove the junction so that train speed at Poulton can increase from 20mph to 50mph, as part of its electrification scheme. It would also save the rail service money on signalling and maintenance costs.