Blackpool to London link hits the buffers

The proposed direct rail link between Blackpool and London, which was intended to run as often as five times a day, has been axed after Network Rail decided its lines were already too busy.

Gordon Marsden, Labour MP for Blackpool South, said: “We need urgently to have some detailed analysis which justifies this decision, not an arrogant throw-away line about a trade-off with punctuality.

Paul Maynard, Conservative MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys, added: “I am utterly horrified that Network Rail has penalised Blackpool and the wider Fylde coast.

Virgin last ran a service linking Blackpool to London in 2003. It had hoped to reinstate the service, offering a morning and afternoon route, before possibly increasing the frequency to five routes per day in 2016. Currently passengers must switch at Preston.

A spokesman said: “There are twice as many trains using the West Coast Main Line as a decade ago and, just like a busy motorway during rush hour, more trains mean that if something goes wrong, the knock-on effects can be significant.

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