Railway work is on track

The new passenger shelters at Leyland Railway Station
The new passenger shelters at Leyland Railway Station

Work has finally started to bring Leyland’s ageing train station into the 21st century.

A £450,000 revamp will see the station get new shelters and a ticket office this year, and the first phase is now complete.

Network Rail and Northern Rail have installed new shelters on all four platforms, and are now deciding whether to upgrade the existing ticket office on Preston Road, or build a new one.

They’re in talks with South Ribble Borough Council, which prompted the scheme in the first place.

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “The original intention was to refurbish the existing ticket office but we have been talking about the possibility of building a completely new office.

“Whatever the final outcome of the discussions, work will start this year.”

There is also a new ticket vending machine installed to make it easier for passengers to purchase tickets at the station, and Northern Rail added that improvement work to the ticket office will take place in May.

The idea to refurbish the railway station started after complaints from wheelchair users about poor access from some platforms off the site.

People arriving at the centre platforms have to carry on to Preston or Chorley and make the return journey, just to be able to get off at the platform next to the car park.

The council is calling out for lifts to be installed as part of the work, but an agreement hasn’t been made yet because it’s expected to cost more than £3m.

The spokesman for Network Rail added: “This would be a major project involving three lifts linked by an overbridge that would have to span all four tracks of the west coast main line.

“There would also need to be staircases between the overbridge and the platforms, and the cost of providing such facilities is expected to be considerable.

“As an example, we recently completed a similar scheme at Cheadle Hulme where the length of the overbridge was much shorter than would be required at Leyland, and that cost about £3.5m.

“We are conducting a feasibility study to see just what would be involved at Leyland.

“When we have done that we will present our findings to the councils and Department for Transport for their consideration.”

Council Leader Margaret Smith, who has campaigned for years for something to be done about access, said: “Everyone involved knows that our long-term goal is to have lifts at the station.

“It’s fundamentally wrong for a railway station in the 21st century to have the type of access that we have at Leyland.

“We’re still pressing for it, but I’m pleased that the improvement works have started, and it’s looking very nice so far.”