Restoring rail services between Southport, Preston and Ormskirk is vital for local economy, says Damien Moore

4th November 2020
southport MP damien moore ots

Restoring rail services between Southport, Preston and Ormskirk is vital for the local economy in the region, says MP Damien Moore.

The Southport Conservative MP praised the cross party determination to restore the vital transport links which were axed during the controversial Dr Beeching cuts in 1964.

Mr Moore met with West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper (Labour), South Ribble MP Katherine Fletcher (Conservative), Preston MP Sir Mark Hendrick (Labour) and rail expert Alan Fantom from OPSTA (Ormskirk Preston and Southport Travellers’ Association) on Monday (2 November) to press their claims.

Southport has particularly strong reasons to campaign for better rail links after submitting £50million regeneration proposals to the Government under Southport Town Deal this week.

The plans include a brand new waterside events centre, an all-year attraction at Southport Pleasureland and a revitalised Lord Street.

Last week, plans were revealed for a £40million Southport Cove resort on the seafront. The exciting, all year-round attraction at Princes Park would include a world class surf wave pool, water-based wellness and spa facilities, 4-star accommodation, a restaurant and cafés plus indoor leisure facilities.

All of these attractions are designed to boost the regional economy by attracting millions of new visitors, making the case for better rail links vital.

Southport MP Damien Moore said: “We have got a real cross party consensus on this issue. We need to see the Burscough Curves reopened and Southport linked with Ormskirk and Preston by rail.

“Being able to connect with Preston opens Southport up to rail passengers on the West Coast Rail Line. We would appeal to visitors from places such as Preston, Carlisle and Glasgow.

“Preston is a massive rail hub in the North of England.

“The North West’s time is now. This scheme will bring people in from all over the country.

“We want to be part of that rail link from North to South and to be able to bring people into Southport with greater ease.

“We do need to capitalise on this great opportunity.

“If we can make this happen then I would like to see some very proactive marketing done in places like Glasgow, Preston and Carlisle to attract visitors into our town.

“We need to drive people into Southport using that pull factor we have that not only are there many great attractions and events that visitors can enjoy here, but that they would be able to arrive by rail and not have to drive to get here. It would be much more environmentally friendly as well as being a more convenient way for more people to travel.”

The case prepared by Alan Fantom with local MPs insists that restoring rail services is central to regional economic development and growth as Southport, South Ribble, Preston and West Lancashire seek to build back stronger after the Coronavirus pandemic.

The routes would also be essential in helping the region to achieve zero carbon.

The proposed scheme would open up two new rail routes and greatly enhance the services on two existing and important rail corridors.

It would be a low risk implementation which could be delivered within two years of formal authorisation with costs contained and managed to a budget of £30-35 million.

It would be a quickly deliverable way of the Government helping to ‘level up’ the North with a relatively low cost scheme.

The new services would be operated without an increase in subsidy and the anticipated benefits (Benefit Cost Ratio 3:1) would make the scheme ‘high value for money’.

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