A community campaign to help revive the disused train line to Fleetwood – one sleeper at a time – has been launched.
Members of the public are being invited to ‘Sponsor a Sleeper to Fleetwood’ - a fund-raising bid which will help pay for the replacement of old, rotten wooden sleepers along the line from Poulton.
Enthusiasts from Poulton to Wyre Railway Society, who are working to reinstate a railway link to the port, are hoping the idea will catch on.
Instead of a simple donation, the sponsor a sleeper idea will actually pay for one of around 400 sleepers which need replacing.
They cost £20 each and those who pledge will receive a special certificate of authenticity, stamped with a number relating to the exact sleeper they have sponsored.
Society members Eddie Fisher said: “It was an idea from one of our members and at first was just for family and friends of those involved.
“The response was so good that we have now spread the campaign further afield.
“It has really taken off and we have already had 50 sponsors.”
There are around 400 sleepers which need replacing and it’s a costly job.
Campaigners are hoping that people will dig deep and help, knowing that they have really made a difference.
Thornton Station needed 60 new sleepers, 50 have already been laid.
They are now looking at the area from Thornton to Hillylaid which requires 125 new sleepers, the Burn Naze loop - 25 sleepers - and then the final stretch to Jameson Road which needs 150 replacements.
The line beyond Jameson Road Bridge needs completely rebuilding and will be the subject of a future appeal. This appeal will however ensure that the line reaches Fleetwood at the earliest opportunity.
“It’s the first thing we have done to raise money outside the immediate group”, said Eddie.
“We are hoping people will see it as doing their bit for the scheme and it will mean the Earth to us.”
Trains could be running on part of the abandoned line as early as next year, it is hoped.
A business plan by the society has been given encouragement by Lancashire County Council and Network Rail, the land owners and transport authorities, which will help with funding bids.
The 10-year plan would see the creation of a heritage diesel service linking Poulton railway station to Fleetwood, initially running four times a day, two days a week.
Visit www.pwrs.org to sponsor a sleeper.