Train station could get funding boost

Leyland Railway Station
Leyland Railway Station
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Leyland Railway Station could be in the running for major improvements after commuters complained about vandalism and poor access.

Northern Rail, which runs the site, is carrying out studies at railway stations in the area to determine which are in need of a funding boost.

The news comes after a commuter was told by a member of staff last week that the ticket kiosk will be closed when the station isn’t staffed, meaning commuters have to walk through the car parks to the platforms.

Now, town centre councillor Derek Forrest says the potential work is long-overdue.

He said: “It’s a dismal picture when you arrive at Leyland train station, and I think there are some obvious improvements which could be made.

“Firstly, there should be indicators to announce which trains are coming in, and there should be better access for disabled people.

“If a wheelchair user gets off the train on the middle platform, they’re stuck, because the only means of getting off is by using steps.

“There’s also been a lot of problems with vandalism. Someone caused damage in the kiosk a few years ago, trying to break in, and I’ve experienced problems myself.

“I leave my bike at the station, and it’s been targeted twice. Once was a write-off because vandals stamped on the wheels.”

He said the problems are worse because the station isn’t always patrolled by staff or police, especially in the evening.

“It used to be manned a lot more often,” he said. “But it’s quite intimidating around there at night time now.

“I sometimes feel a bit threatened, and it is unnerving. I think women on their own would be inclined to stay on until Preston and get a taxi back into Leyland, rather than getting off the train here.

“The problems would be reduced if the station was manned more, especially at night time.”

Although Northern Rail have indicated there may be improvements in the pipeline, Coun Forrest is worried that too much work needs to be done.

He said: “I just don’t think the budget will stretch to the changes we need here, particularly the disabled access situation.

“We need a lift really, but that’d cost mega bucks.”

He added: “Something which was suggested as a ‘sensible’ solution to the access problem was for wheelchair users to carry on until Chorley or Preston, and then coming back to the town on a train which stops at one of the other platforms.”

Northern Rail confirmed they’re looking into supporting Leyland, but said the move hasn’t been fuelled by problems of vandalism.

A spokesman said: “It has always been the case that when the ticket office at Leyland station is closed, access through the office is restricted, but we do not have any significant issues with vandalism at Leyland station.

“We are carrying out feasibility studies at eight stations in the area that will be considered for improvements under the Department for Transport’s National Stations Improvements Programme.

“This is in the very early stages and we will update in the future if Leyland is to be included in the next phase of works.”

A British Transport Police spokesman added: “We work closely with the train operating companies to combat criminal damage and ensure passengers and rail staff are safe when using trains and stations.

“BTP is committed to making the rail network as safe and secure as possible.

“Crime is low, but our priority is to make sure that people who use the rail network are not only safe, but feel safe.”