The major partners aiming to double rail services on the South Fylde line met for the first time this week.
Fylde MP Mark Menzies lodged a Restoring Your Railway bid last year to double services on the line; the Government announced it was successful before Christmas, awarding an initial £50,000 to help create a Strategic Outline Business case for the project.
Representatives of Fylde Council, which is leading on the scheme, met with Mr Menzies’ office, Lancashire County Council, Blackpool Council, Northern Rail, Network Rail, the Department for Transport, and Community Rail Lancashire this week to plan out the next steps in the process.
Mr Menzies said: “This was a landmark meeting for the South Fylde line. The interested groups agreed a way forward and we will be completing our grant offer letter by the end of March.
“The Strategic Outline Business Case we need to prepare will look at all options for improving the line. We need to look at connectivity with Preston, the implications on the wider rail timetable, and a full cost benefit analysis including projected passenger numbers.
“For too long this line has been forgotten about. One service per hour, many of which are cancelled, is simply not reliable enough to use for Fylde’s residents or visitors to the area. Doubling services will make it a viable route to Preston and the wider rail network, allowing people to use it to commute, for college and university, and for medical appointments which the line could not be relied on before.
“It’s clear everyone at the meeting wants to see this rail line improved and I’m delighted to see the project moving forwards quickly.”