£450,000 cash boost for ageing railway station

South Ribble Council leader Margaret Smith at Leyland Railway Station

South Ribble Council leader Margaret Smith at Leyland Railway Station

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A £450,000 pounds revamp will FINALLY see Leyland’s ageing railway station brought up-to-date.

Rail operators Northern Rail and Network Rail, together with Lancashire County Council, have agreed to commit cash to build new platform shelters, install CCTV, and build a new ticket office.

The three have also agreed to put into action new plans which would see a lift built between platforms so disabled passengers can access all areas of the station – finally spelling an end to a decade-long struggle for wheelchair users.

Leader of South Ribble Council, Coun Margaret Smith, held crunch talks with Northern Rail and Network Rail last week in a bid to kick-start much needed improvements to the out-dated station.

She said: “The need to improve Leyland Railway Station has been a priority for us for a long time, so I’m delighted to have received the backing and support of Network Rail, Northern Rail and Lancashire County Council to start bringing the station into the 21st Century.

“There have been some small steps forward over the last couple of years, with some cosmetic work and car park improvements, now I’m very much looking forward to a comprehensive upgrade starting in earnest.”

Train service operator Network Rail has agreed to allocate £300,000, Northern Rail, which own and operate Britain’s railways is chipping in with £25,000, and Lancashire County Council has earmarked £125,000 under the Local Transport Plan.

It is hoped work on the shelters will be finished early in the new year, when work to improve the ticket office will get underway. Once this is finished surveys will be carried out to establish the best way to install a new lift.

The work should be completed without disruption to train services at the station, which sees around 800 passengers pass through a day and 33 services running each day from Monday to Friday.

Coun Smith said: “The ticket office will still remain manned but it will have a substantial upgrade. We are also putting in CCTV so passengers feel a little safer.

“The next stage which is getting access to the platforms is still on the agenda, it hasn’t gone away. We are very much committed to the station and committed to getting it into the 21st century as best we can.

“We are well aware of the difficulties that prevail there and I am sure a lot of people will welcome the improvements.”

The leader said she had also been in talks with South Ribble MP Lorraine Fullbrook in the hopes of securing yet more funding for the run-down station.

Coun Smith said: “We had a meeting with Lorraine and put in on her radar and asked if she will also do some lobbying for us.

“We are optimistic but we understand Network and Northern Rail have got other stations that need work too.”

Lee Wasnidge, area director for Northern Rail said: “We are delighted funding has been agreed for Leyland. The thousands of passengers who travel through the station every week will see real improvements with new waiting shelters and booking office facilities.

“This is a great example of partners working together to bring real benefits to our customers.”