Preston Station gets green light to say it with (plastic) flowers to neglected passengers

Passengers on two "forgotten" platforms at Preston Station will finally be able to sit down while they wait for trains after refurbishment plans were given the green light.

By Brian Ellis
Monday, 18th July 2022, 12:30 pm

Users of the East Lancashire line to Colne and the West Lancashire line to Ormskirk are to be brought steaming into the 21st century with a scheme to provide platforms 3c and 4c with seats, planters, hanging baskets and information boards.

The southern end of the platforms have been stuck in the 1970s with travellers having to stand - or sit on the floor - waiting for services on the two community lines.

Now Preston Council has given the Grade II Listed station the go-ahead to improve the passenger experience with a general spruce up.

Passengers must sit on the floor because there are no seats.

"The waiting environment at the southern end of Preston Station hasn't changed significantly since electrification was completed in 1973," says a report to the council.

"Passenger facilities are basic, with canopies and electronic customer information displays, but no seating and little passenger information on the lines and destinations."

What changes will be made to the two platforms?

The County Council project is aimed at providing a "greened" section of the station.

Standing room only on two 'forgotten' platforms.

There will be new seats and planters on the platforms, although the flowers will be plastic. Hanging baskets will be installed, also with artificial blooms.

Two freestanding notice boards will be provided to advertise Community Rail Partnerships and line attractions and bring wider awareness of the East Lancashire and West Lancashire lines.

How will this improve the passenger experience?

The report says: "Preston Station Platforms 3c and 4c will benefit all passengers, particularly travellers on the East Lancashire and West Lancashire lines.

"The project will brighten up the southern end of the station . . . and also improve existing station planters and enable the display of station history and promote local attractions.

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"The waiting environment at the southern end of Preston Station hasn't changed significantly since electrification was completed in 1973.

"Passenger facilities are basic, with canopies and electronic customer information displays but no seating and little passenger information on the lines and destinations."

Why, after almost 50 years, are the platforms finally getting a spruce up?

LCC says the Manchester Recovery Task Force (MRTF) December 2022 timetable sees the Lancashire "triangle" services to Blackpool South, Ormskirk and Colne restructured so that Colne and Ormskirk services are connected, to arrive and depart from platforms 3c and 4c.

"The time is therefore right to update and improve passenger waiting facilities at this part of Preston station," say County Hall chiefs.

"The project meets the collective objectives of Avanti West Coast, Community Rail Lancashire, Northern Trains and Lancashire County Council to build back demand for rail travel and to improve infrastructure and services for rail passengers.

"The delivery of a better passenger environment at Platforms 3c and 4c will benefit all passengers through the creation of a better visual experience and will increase satisfaction.

"It is hoped that the scheme will encourage greater use of the station for both local and longer distance travel, benefitting Avanti West Coast, Trans Pennine Express and Northern."