Station back on track

LEIGH RAIL STATION DUE TO BE PUBLISHED ''Suggested Route

LEIGH RAIL STATION DUE TO BE PUBLISHED ''Suggested Route

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THIS is the hoped-for site of a proposed Leigh railway station.

The Transport for Leigh campaign group recently 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 to Leigh with a £42m project based around a new station at Pennington.

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

Neil Prescott, one of Transport for Leigh’s directors, said: “The discussions have been very 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 straight away.

“Network Rail also want 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, and for most people in Leigh Pennington will be within walking distance anyway.”

Transport for Leigh are also stepping up their fundraising efforts by becoming a community interest company, which will enable them to hold fundraising events and employ part-time staff to take care of administration and fundraising.

Neil said: “It’s a big step for us. At the moment we’re all volunteers and give up a few hours whenever we have time, and if we want to give out leaflets it has to be paid for out of our own pockets.

“If we had someone to take care of things like doing leaflets, or keeping the website up to date, it would allow us to do a lot more to get our project out there.”