Town gets onboard to help rail overhaul

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A new railway stabling is to be built in Leyland to facilitate the electrification of the Blackpool to Preston line.

Disused railway sidings adjacent to the West Coast Mainline at Leyland Business Park will be overhauled, and a new facility will be built after gaining the green light from South Ribble Borough Council.

A large-scale project is underway to electrify the Blackpool to Preston train line over the next two years as part of the wider North West Electrification Programme. As a result, a number of diesel passenger train units which would ordinarily be stabled and serviced over night at Blackpool Station require an alternative location.

The site, which has Centurion Way to the south and Europa Drive to the west, will see trains arriving in the late evening, serviced overnight before departing in the early morning the following day.

Network Rail say there will be minimal activity during the day, however, the sidings would be considered operational at all times and restricted access would apply at all times.

Leyland Councillor Claire Hamilton, who also sits on the planning committee, said: “This significant rail improvement to electrify the line between Leyland and Blackpool is very much welcomed and this temporary site to store the equipment will help to complete the works. Leyland has excellent network links and this will advance this further for local residents.”

As part of the work, a ‘shunter’ cabin will be built, existing fencing will be removed and replaced with 2.4m-high galvanized steel palisade fencing, a six-space staff car park will be formed, there will be a storage area for 10 1,500 litre wheeled bins on new concrete hardstanding, a 36,000 litre diesel fuel storage tank will be installed, as well as nine single storey temporary buildings.

Network Rail is proposing temporary use until May 2018, with an option to extend to December 2019. After this time, they propose to restore the site and remove all infrastructure with the exception of the realigned track and walkways.

A Network Rail statement says: “It is considered that the works will deliver substantial benefits to the railway network and, by extension, secure enhancement of sustainable modes of travel.”