Arguments for upgrading South Fylde rail line via Lytham and Blackpool Pleasure Beach are presented to government

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Fylde’s council submitted detailed findings that explore steps to improve local transport, including the possibility of providing half-hourly service between Blackpool South and Preston, as well as measures that improve reliability and punctuality of service.

The South Fylde Line, which runs through Lytham, St Annes and Blackpool Pleasure Beach, was reduced to one track from Kirkham in the early 1980s and the report recommends building a “through loop” that would double the service compared to to the current one. train per hour.

The report also identifies a series of other measures to improve service, including upgrading the level crossings at Moss Side and considering the South Fylde line as a “test bed” for affordable electrification of railway lines. secondary iron.

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A South Fylde Line train at St Annes station

In addition, the report also discusses a possible second phase of development, including linking the South Fylde line to the Blackpool tram.

Among the expected benefits of the improvements are the increase in the number of visitors to the south coast of Fylde, the use of sustainable and carbon-free transport and the fight against deprivation through better access to education and employment opportunities. , as well as the encouragement of new businesses and tourism.

If the Department of Transportation decides to move the ideas forward, another detailed report can be commissioned to assess the options that should be funded and implemented.

Known as the South Fylde Line Strategic Outline Business Case, the 55-page report identifies a wide range of issues associated with transportation and connectivity.

It was commissioned after Mark Menzies MP for Fylde and Scott Benton MP for Blackpool South were successful in securing second round funding from the UK Government’s Restoration of Your Railway Ideas Fund.

The report, which also includes making Moss Side a ‘demand stop’, identifies major transportation issues on the South Fylde line, including low frequency of service, unreliability, long journey times, lack of capacity at peak times and the need to change at Preston longer. train journeys.

It also recognizes the high levels of car use in South Fylde, which causes congestion and parking pressures, as well as the wider impact of transport on employment, education, tourism and business development opportunities as well as the health of people, the environment and local communities. .

During the research, local residents, businesses, tourism organizations, railway industry representatives and public sector organizations were consulted for their views.

In a survey of Fylde residents and rail users, 84 percent said they did not use the rail service as often as they would like due to cancellation of services, on-time performance and sometimes trains were stopped before reaching their final destination.

Councilor Karen Buckley, Head of Fylde Council, said: “This report is the first step in examining how to improve journey times, reliability and punctuality along the South Fylde line.

“It identifies transport issues, sets transport goals and has shaped a progressive package of public transport improvements in the South Blackpool and South Fylde areas.

“The study also examines the broader impact of transportation issues on society as well as the government’s aspirations to promote ‘race to the top’ and net zero emissions by 2050.

“The completion of this report is an extremely positive first step and we have now presented these findings to the Department of Transportation for further consideration. “

Mr Benton said: “This project would make a real improvement to the Blackpool South transport network and could double the number of trains entering our stations.

“It will make it easier for people to travel here and boost our local economy, helping to create more investment and jobs. This will help attract more visitors to our tourism economy, especially with the station serving Blackpool Pleasure Beach, one of the best and largest tourist attractions in the country.

Mr Menzies said: “The establishment of a passing loop is crucial if we are to improve rail services on the South Fylde line.

“Doubling the frequency will help stimulate economic growth, making it easier for people to reach Fylde’s businesses by rail, encouraging people to get out of their cars and get on the train.

“We need a more regular, more reliable service and that is precisely what these proposals will bring.

“The findings of this business case support the pass loop system that Scott Benton and I have proposed and this is an important step in making it a reality.”

The £ 65,000 report was funded by the Department of Transport with matching funding from Community Rail Lancashire, which secured a grant through the Community Rail Development Fund, Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council and Fylde Council .

The studies were overseen by a project group comprising representatives of local MPs, the Department of Transport, Network Rail, Northern Trains, Community Rail Lancashire, Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council and Fylde Council.

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