Renewed call for station to reopen before development

Councillor Michael Green at the disused Midge Hall Railway Station
Councillor Michael Green at the disused Midge Hall Railway Station
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A campaign to reopen a rural railway station has been relaunched.

Last year, Lancashire County Council (LCC) stated it was drawing up a business plan for the reopening of Midge Hall station near Leyland, as part of its long-term Highways Masterplan.

With no clear progession in over a year, now 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 chairman Alan Fantom said: “The area might look small, but there’s an awful lot of people on the west side of Leyland who would find going to Midge Hall much easier than going to Leyland Station.

“There’s also people in places like Longton and Much Hoole, who would rather go there than negotiate the bottleneck of Penwortham to get to Preston. Compound this with new developments, and the number of households in walking distance is multiplied many times.”

He added: “LCC has so many priorities that this has to be brought to its attention, and with Section 106 funding from new developments, the capital investment needed would largely be available without LCC using its own funds.

“Rather than wait for the development to happen, let’s get this station up and running to support the developments.”

Dave Colbert, transport planning adviser at LCC said: “The Central Lancashire Highways and Transport Masterplan, which sets out priorities for the next decade and beyond, includes a commitment to look at the business case for reopening a station at Midge Hall.

“However, its feasibility depends on improvements being made to the line between Preston and Ormskirk, which is a key proposal in the consultation draft Highways and Transport Masterplan for West Lancashire.

“The improvements could include extending electrification from Ormskirk to Burscough Junction or electrifying the whole route.”

Moss Side Coun Michael Green said: “I’m behind OPSTA in this call, so is South Ribble Council.

“The station would be of benefit to many people in Leyland and in the Western parishes.

“And as well as for employment and commuting, it would also help students travelling to UCLan and Edgehill University.”

OPSTA is planning a public meeting for September.