Rail campaign moves up a gear

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A CAMPAIGN group has taken a major step forward in their aim to bring a new railway station to Leigh.

Transport for Leigh met with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and Wigan Council to outline the case for a new station.

Campaigners presented a study commissioned from Stobart Rail for the reinstatement of railway lines with a £42m project based around a new station at Pennington.

TfGM will report back later this month with a feasibility study, and Transport for Leigh believes there is a broad cross-party political consensus of the need for a railway station in the town.

Transport for Leigh’s director Neil Prescott said: “The discussions have been detailed, down to the level of the cost of the ticketing machines. We’re proposing it for Pennington, behind the fire station, because there’s an existing railway tunnel there going under the East Lancs Road, which will save us £10m.

“Network Rail also wants to tie in the new line with the project to electrify the mainline, and the tunnel will take electrification, so that’s the other reason for building it there. I know everyone would like to see a station in the centre of Leigh, but the amount of construction work required means it’s just not economically feasible.”

Transport for Leigh is also becoming a community interest company, which will enable it to hold fund-raising events and employ part-time staff.