Fylde MP's ministerial talks on rail improvements

Fylde MP Mark Menzies asked ministers for talks on doubling the frequency of the South Fylde Rail Line - and placed on Parliamentary record Northern Rail's appalling number of cancelled services in the process.

~Mr Menzies asked his question in a Transport topical questions session in Parliament.

He asked: "Following our summer of severe service disruption that saw Northern rail cancel more than 12,000 services, will the Secretary of State meet me to discuss how we can ensure that it does not happen next year?

"More importantly, though, can we also discuss the building of the South Fylde line, which will see the doubling of the service from once an hour to every half an hour, as it will be a huge boost to the Fylde coast?"

Mr Menzies has long campaigned for a passing loop to be installed on the line, classified as a long siding, to potentially double the number of services on it.

The line serves Kirkham and Wesham, Lytham, St Annes, and one of the UK's leading tourist attractions - Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Andrew Jones, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department of Transport, said: "We have been very clear that disruption following the introduction of the May timetable was entirely unacceptable.

"I would, of course, be very happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss his proposals and the work that is under way to ensure that we minimise the risk of disruption for future timetable changes."

The meeting with ministers and staff will be held next week.