WORK is progressing on the campaign for Skelmersdale Train Station with MP Rosie Cooper meeting Network Rail chiefs who told her ‘rail is the right solution for transport in and out of Skelmersdale’.
It has been 12 months since Boris Johnson announced that Skelmersdale Railway Station will be built.
Ms Cooper has since written to the Prime Minister and Transport Secretary seeking reassurance that the project is still on track.
Responding, Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris confirmed to Ms Cooper that Department for Transport officials met with Lancashire County Council counterparts to discuss the work the council commissioned to assess the scheme.
Minister Heaton-Harris further stated ‘LCC expect to conclude the SOBC (Strategic Outline Business Case) in the first quarter of 2021 and we look forward to discussing it with them in the anticipation that they will wish to seek government funding.’
The MP commented: “I have taken every opportunity to lobby Ministers, ask questions in Parliament and make the case for a railway station in Skelmersdale.?
“Many Skelmersdale residents ?feel? isolated and forgotten and think the railway station will never be built. A railway station in the heart of? Skelmersdale ?will open up a world of economic and social opportunities for the town and its residents.?
“I also met with officials from Network Rail on Friday who briefed me about the progress being made on the Strategic Outline Business Case working with Lancashire County Council and engineers Mott MacDonald.
“It was good news to hear that investigations have shown that rail is the right solution for transport in and out of Skelmersdale and ruling out other options such as light rail or a parkway some miles from the town.
“Receiving confirmation from the Transport Minister, who I will be meeting with today (Wednesday), that his department’s officials are in discussions with LCC show just how high up the agenda this is for all the partners involved.
“I have also written to the Lancashire County Council Chief Executive seeking a formal update on progress, as the business case is due for completion early in the new year.
“It is inconceivable that in the 21st Century, a town with a population of 38,000, is served only by infrequent buses and where residents who don’t own cars can’t easily go about their daily lives, work, shop or enjoy visits to theatres and cinemas in nearby towns such as Liverpool and Manchester.
“This railway station will mean that West Lancashire constituents will no longer be isolated from 21st Century Britain.”