Skelmersdale puts forward business case for rail investment

Skelmersdale is to submit a Strategic Outline Business Case for government investment in a new railway line and station.

The proposed new line would improve the town's links with Liverpool, Manchester and Preston after its previous rail network was closed to passengers in November 1956. Journey times to Liverpool Central could be 35 minutes, and 18 minutes to Wigan Wallgate.

Lancashire County Council says this connectivity would open up job, education and training opportunities, as well as new leisure activities, which would in turn encourage business development in the town, supporting both new and existing developments, providing a catalyst for regeneration and future investment, leading to lasting transformational change.

In addition, the link would also significantly contribute to decarbonisation, local air quality, healthy and active travel agendas.

The SOBC has been developed by the county council in partnership with organisations including Merseytravel, Network Rail, West Lancashire Borough Council and the Department for Transport. 

Estimated project costs currently range from £210m to £700m and the submission to government will look for agreement to move to the next stage of the development process.

Coun Charlie Edwards, cabinet member for highways and transport, said:"Skelmersdale is a unique part of Lancashire due to its radical design as a New Town in the 1960s. Unfortunately as the town grew, the rail link was never reinstated.

"Improving the public transport network will help to encourage regeneration in the area and make the town a more appealing place to live, work, visit and invest.

"In recent years, the county council has been working to increase transport options. This is an important stage of the highly-detailed and lengthy process which we need to go through to bring these major rail improvements for people in the town."

Summaries of the SOBC can be read online at www.lancashire.gov.uk/skelmersdale-rail-link