Lancashire County Council has completed its initial feasibility study into the reopening of a coastal rail link between Fleetwood and Poulton-le-Fylde, with the findings set to be submitted to the Department for Transport for consideration.
The reopening of the former railway line would fall under the Government’s ‘Restoring Your Railway’ programme.
The 5-mile line was closed to passenger services in 1970, and to freight in 1999.
A new strategic outline business case (SOBC) was prepared on behalf of Lancashire County Council to examine the case and feasibility of reopening the line.
It was developed in partnership with the Department for Transport, Network Rail, Blackpool Council, Blackpool Transport, Fleetwood Town Council, Poulton & Wyre Railway Society and Wyre Borough Council.
Three options were explored:
- Restoration of the heavy rail link integrating with the national rail network at Poulton-le-Fylde.
- Extending the existing tram network at Fleetwood Ferry and Poulton-le-Fylde.
- A tram/train hybrid scheme where light rail vehicles are able to operate on both heavy and light rail systems.
The study estimated costs of the project, depending on which of the three options were selected, could range from £121m to £251m.
This would depend on the mode chosen, form of electrification and frequency of service.
As part of the review, existing bus provisions were also assessed and concluded that improvements to local bus services and interchange with rail services could be delivered as part of the emerging National Bus Strategy.
Charlie Edwards, Lancashire County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: "Restoring the rail link will be transformational for Fleetwood and the Fylde Coast in terms of where people can live, work and access opportunities and I look forward to progressing this project with the Department for Transport and our partners.
"Lancashire County Council has carried out a significant amount of work to get to this point with the project, and we now pass our findings to government in the hope that it will eventually get full backing.
"For the people of Fleetwood and wider Lancashire, this will be a real game changer and we will continue to seek inward investment and opportunities for our residents."
County Councillor Stephen Clarke for Fleetwood West and Cleveleys added: "This is going to be monumental for our town and it will really put Fleetwood on the map.
"This will make it easier for people to get in and out of the town, as well as create more trade and jobs. We hope the government will give this project its full support and backing."