Boris Johnson urged to renew support for restoration of Fleetwood Railway

The Prime Minister was implored to continue supporting a plan to reconnect Fleetwood to the rail network following the results of a study into the possibility.

During a 2019 general election campaign visit to Thornton station – on the line between Poulton and Fleetwood, closed in 1970 – Boris Johnson said a town [the size of Fleetwood] should have a railroad ”.

A £ 100,000 feasibility study undertaken since – the findings of which were published last month – will now form the basis for a submission to the government fund for the restoration of your railways.

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Thornton station towards Fleetwood
Thornton station towards Fleetwood

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The Lancashire County Council chief executive will also write to Downing Street to again ask Mr Johnson to pledge his ‘personal support’ to ensure the project comes to fruition as soon as possible.

The letter was requested by Fleetwood West County Councilor Stephen Clarke and gained support at a full-council meeting.

County Cllr Clarke said the city needed to get the line back up and running in order to “encourage industry to come back to the area” and support companies that had continued to use Fleetwood as a base.

“Fleetwood… urgently needs an improved transportation system so that the city can develop again.

“The roads of Fleetwood [are] overcrowded and totally insufficient. Restoring this line is necessary to really improve the neighborhood, the economy – and ensure residents have a prepared transport link for the future, ”the conservative politician said.

Fleetwood East Labor MP Lorraine Beavers welcomed the fact that the feasibility study took place on the side of a rail link rather than an alternative plan for a light rail system. She said trains were “the only answer to Fleetwood’s future prosperity”.

“The rail will unblock the A585 and save hours of travel time for education and jobs. Wyre District currently has only one station which is currently without adequate parking.

“Fleetwood has space for a station and space for [a] relay parking.

“The city needs it so that we can start rebuilding our once prosperous city into a place of hope, jobs and dreams,” added County Cllr Beavers.

The study found that a re-established heavy rail link would provide a journey time of 11 minutes from Fleetwood to Poulton and 28 minutes from Fleetwood to Preston – a journey that currently takes up to an hour on public transport.

Highways and transport cabinet member Charlie Edwards said circumstances had changed since he previously expressed support for the streetcar option before being appointed to his current post. He said heavy rail was not the government’s priority until Boris Johnson came to power – and that the Fleetwood study had shown that restoring the line to Poulton was “really doable”.

Meanwhile, Alf Clempson, a member of the Poulton-le-Fylde division, paid tribute to the work of the Poulton and Wyre Railway Society, whose volunteers have spent years clearing huge swathes of the track and “maintaining the dream alive when there was little hope ”.

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