Station works welcomed - but more is still needed

Dereck on Platform 1 at Leyland Railway Station, with the New signal system that has just installed.
Dereck on Platform 1 at Leyland Railway Station, with the New signal system that has just installed.

Leyland’s railway station has finally received funding for much-needed improvements - but rail bosses have been accused of not doing enough to improve the facilities.

Northern Rail has installed electronic train indicator screens, but have no imminent plans to tackle other issues, such as the problem of poor access on the site.

Commuters have complained that passengers with prams or in wheelchairs are continuing on to Preston or Chorley because the middle platforms only have steps and no lift or disabled facilities available.

They then have to get another train back to Leyland which will stop on one of the outer platforms.

The Guardian reported in June that Northern Rail was carrying out feasibility studies at eight stations in the area to assess which are in need of a funding boost, under the Department for Transport’s National Stations Improvements Programme.

However, the recent work isn’t part of the scheme, and Northern Rail say the bigger plans haven’t yet been finalised.

A spokesman said: “The NSIP improvement works have not been finally agreed or designed as yet.

“The works have been carried out under the Northern Disability Discrimination Act Works for 2010/2011, by Northern Rail.

“The train indicator screens are part of the overall Customer Information Screen works installed at the station. They have been funded by the Department for Transport and Northern Rail.”

But a town centre councillor is now worried this is the only attention Leyland will get from Northern Rail, and believes the old station is being left in the shadows of Buckshaw Village’s new development.

Coun Derek Forrest said: “I’ll be disappointed if all Northern Rail have decided to do is install indicator boards after seeing the poor state of the station and its facilities for themselves.

“I was pleased to see the screens installed, but they are basic requirements in the 21st century, and it just means that customers will no longer have to rely on someone shouting from the ticket office to announce which train is approaching!

“It still doesn’t solve the problem of access though, and Northern Rail really should install lifts.

“It seems as if the necessities are being forgotten about in the excitement to make Buckshaw Village’s new station the best in the area.

“That’s going to have bells on, while Leyland residents are still suffering from poor access.”

He’s also concerned that once the Buckshaw Village station opens in autumn, less trains will stop in Leyland.

“Leyland railway station isn’t the most attractive entrance into the town,” he said. “But it is important to people.

“I’m worried that Leyland won’t be as much of a high priority on the timetable once Buckshaw Village is up and running, and the trains going to places such as Manchester and Preston won’t even stop in Leyland anymore.

“I think it’ll be a more convenient route for train companies to use Buckshaw as the main line, and anything which makes Leyland more difficult to get to is bad news.”

What do you think? Email christopher.maguire@lep.co.uk or contact 01257 264911.