Regeneration bosses have welcomed the announcement by Government that further lines will be electrified across the North West to improve services.
The £200m programme announced today includes electrifying three routes:
- 15 mile line between Huyton and Wigan, allowing electric trains to operate between Liverpool and Wigan via St Helens;
- 25 mile route between Manchester and Euxton Junction, allowing electric trains to operate between Manchester and Preston, via Bolton
- 17 mile route between Blackpool North and Preston, allowing electric trains to operate to Blackpool North from Liverpool and Manchester.
In July a £1.1bn package included electrifying the Manchester to Liverpool line, as well as London to Swansea.
Doug Garrett, chief executive of ReBlackpool, the urban regeneration company, said: "The announcement regarding the electrification of the railway line between Preston and Blackpool North is great news, and must be warmly welcomed.
"Not only will the new service offer faster, smoother and more comfortable travel to the millions who flock to Blackpool every year, it will also mean shorter journey times – meaning people can get to Blackpool to enjoy the thrills, spills, unique attractions and sights faster than ever before.
"Blackpool is transforming itself and has something to offer everyone in terms of both business and leisure all year round. This news means many more people will be able to come and see for themselves the changes which are taking place and why Blackpool is the UK's favourite beach resort. It is also great news from a Fylde coast perspective, opening up the whole coast to tourists and holidaymakers who will be able to get themselves to and from the area far more easily than ever before."
Steven Broomhead, chief executive of the North West Development Agency, said: "Following the announcement of the electrification of the Liverpool to Manchester line today's news sees this rolled out further, with Wigan, St Helens, Blackpool, Preston, Bolton and others now benefiting. Moving around the region by rail to the main urban centres will become quicker and more comfortable, which in turn will provide a boost to the Northwest economy."