Government rejects Skelmersdale rail plans

By Tim Aldred

08 Jul 2022

Skelmersdale's bid to build a new rail station which would improve connections with Liverpool, Manchester and Preston has been rejected by the government.

Lancashire County Council submitted a Strategic Outline Business Case to the Department for Transport last year, but have now learned the plans will not be considered further.

County councillor Charlie Edwards, cabinet member for highways and transport, says the council will push on with work to improve links to the town.

He said: "I know that local people will be disappointed at this news, but we'll continue working hard to explore other options for public transport improvements.

"We'll review the government's feedback and look carefully at other possible plans for Skelmersdale. Improving the public transport network will help to make the town a more appealing place to live, work, visit and invest. By providing a high-quality sustainable public transport service, it reduces the need for some car journeys, which also reduces emissions and traffic levels."

In their feedback to the submission, the government suggested other options focussing on the existing Kirkby–Wigan rail line could improve connections to the town. These would require less infrastructure work and at a lower cost.

The DfT said it will now engage with the county council and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority to look into these options in more detail.

Other options being looked at include a bus link between Skelmersdale and the planned new railway station at Headbolt Lane in Kirkby, which has featured within the county council's recently submitted Bus Service Improvement Plan.

Enjoyed this? Read more from Tim Aldred

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