Park and ride support for closed railway station

Ormskirk, Preston and Southport Traveller's Association demonstration at Midge Hall near Leyland highlighting the demand for re-opening the railway station which was closed in 1961
Ormskirk, Preston and Southport Traveller's Association demonstration at Midge Hall near Leyland highlighting the demand for re-opening the railway station which was closed in 1961
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Renewed calls have been made for a rural railway station – which closed to passengers more than 50 years ago – to be reopened.

And support is growing for Midge Hall to become a park-and-ride station.

With hundreds of new homes set to be built nearby on the former Leyland test track, campaigners are stepping up their efforts for the station to be relaunched.

South Ribble councillor Paul Wharton said the area was on the verge of being turned into “another Buckshaw”.

He was referring to Buckshaw Village where thousands of new homes have sprung up following the redevelopment of the Royal Ordnance site.

As the village grew, residents there, too, called for better infrastructure plans, including a new station.

And, on October 3, 2011, the new £6.8m Buckshaw Parkway station opened on October 3, 2011, on the Manchester to Preston line.

Councillor Wharton has met residents from Moss Side who told him they would like to see a park-and-ride railway station for Midge Hall.

He said: “If the test track goes, there will be several hundred new houses and it’s going to be like another Buckshaw.

“Why can’t they have a station, as well? Network Rail and Northern Rail are saying ‘no’. But I’m hoping once all these new homes are built there will be more justification for it.”

In 2013, Lancashire County Council stated it was drawing up a business plan for the reopening of Midge Hall station as part of its long-term Highways Masterplan. But there has been no clear progression.

The Ormskirk, Preston and Southport Travellers Association (OPSTA), is renewing pressure on LCC, saying proposed housing developments in the area make the issue more crucial.

OPSTA has submitted a paper outlining the case for a station to the developer test track site. It says the developer has indicated it will use it as part of its revised Development Masterplan it is obliged to submit to the council.

It is also circulating the document to other stakeholders and potential influencers.

Lancashire county councillor Michael Green, represents Leyland South West, and is a South Ribble borough councillor for Moss Side ward.

He said a park-and-ride scheme would be welcomed.

“That’s something that would be very beneficial,” he said.

“Parking facilities need to be provided, but a park-and-ride that links up to a wider community wold be very beneficial and a co-ordinated transport system that we all need.”

He said: “I’ve long been a supporter of Midge Hall railway station being reopened ever since I became a borough councillor back in 2003.

“It needs to happen. Hopefully funding will be provided to get that station open. As part of that there needs to be a park and ride scheme.”

He said something needed to happen now and not, say in ten or more years time when the housing had been constructed.

And he agreed with councillor Wharton as regards the Buckshaw comparison.

“A smaller version but never the less a community which needs some proper facilities,” he said.