A MP has vowed to fight for the reinstatement of a railway junction after a House of Lords debate heard it was ‘not a high priority’.
Campaigners have tried for decades to bring back the Burscough Curves, to allow direct train services between Preston, Ormskirk and Southport.
The project would involve electrifying the link between two stations in Burscough, currently on separate railway lines – Burscough Junction (Ormskirk to Preston line) and Burscough Bridge (Southport to Manchester line).
The scheme would bring back into use the disused track shut down in 1962 as part of the infamous Beeching cuts.
Lord Fearn, former Southport MP and Liberal Democrat Peer, was told the Government had no plans to reinstate the line on Monday.
Earl Attlee, Conservative whip, said: “In accordance with our localism agenda, it would be for Lancashire County Council to determine whether this scheme is a priority and to fund the capital cost and subsidy required by the new services that would use the curves. We understand this scheme is not a high priority for the council at present.”
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said there was considerable Government investment in major rail projects, such as HS2 and developing the Northern Hub, and local railway schemes should also benefit.
She raised the Burscough Curves during a meeting with Merseytravel Chairman, Coun Liam Robinson, last Friday.
Merseytravel’s rail services currently terminate at Ormskirk and the transport authority is a key player in any possible development.
Speaking after the meeting, the Labour MP said: “While all the focus and investment is on the glamour projects, like HS2, I continue to campaign and push for the Burscough Curves scheme.
“Every opportunity I get I highlight this vital scheme because it would offer a real boost to an area like West Lancashire.
“Sadly, projects like Burscough Curves aren’t important to the Conservative-led Government or to the Conservative-run county council.
“Burscough Curves is important though to the residents and businesses of West Lancashire.
“If we do not see essential investment in vital rail connections increasingly places like West Lancashire will become isolated.
“This is already beginning to happen as investment is pumped into upgrading rail services in the surrounding areas.
“Despite all the barriers being put in the way, I remain committed to the long-term future of this scheme and to making it happen.”
Earlier this month the county council’s scrutiny committee considered a report, which recommended that it sought to encourage and help investment in the regions’s rail infrastructure, including the Burscough Curves.