A footbridge which links a new platform to Kirkham & Wesham station has been lifted into place – the latest stage in the upgrade of the railway between Preston and Blackpool.
The new 12 tonne bridge was lifted into place overnight on Thursday (19 January) by Team Orange as work to transform the railway continues.
Kirkham & Wesham station is being expanded as part of the Great North Rail Project with the addition of a new platform, footbridge and lifts. Delivered alongside electrification, signalling and track upgrades, the improvements will help improve reliability and make the station step-free for the first time.
Fylde MP Mark Menzies said: “I am delighted to see Kirkham and Wesham Station improved to this extent, making it accessible for all.
“From the moment I was elected I called for these changes and I’m glad all of the meetings over the years have seen the project come to fruition.
“It was vital to have this station made accessible for all. For too long there was a wide section of the community unable to use it.
“And I’m excited about the opportunities the new facilities now open up for improved train services, including direct trains to London.
“I look forward to hearing more from Network Rail when we meet again next week to discuss these improvements, and future improvements on the South Fylde line.”
Chris Montgomery, major project director for Network Rail, said: “Work is progressing well to upgrade Kirkham & Wesham station. The installation of the new footbridge is an exciting milestone for the project and means that passengers in the local area are one step closer to a better railway.
“The upgrade of Blackpool’s railway forms a key part the Great North Rail Project and will help to transform train journeys for passengers in the north.”
Sharon Keith, regional director for Northern, said: “It’s great to see another milestone reached in the transformation of the railway between Blackpool and Preston.
“The work being carried out as part of the Great North Rail Project will pave the way for our own modernisation programme which will see the introduction of brand new and revamped trains as well as improved stations and more services.”
Liz Oades, Fylde Borough Councillor for Kirkham South, said: “I am thrilled and excited to see the improvements to the station coming to a conclusion, after very many years of campaigning for a lift to be installed at the station it will be wonderful for local people to see two lifts coming in at the same time. I am also hopeful that we will see more services coming through Kirkham and Wesham and hope that this will bring greater economic development and future prosperity for the towns. If we can achieve better car parking for commuters in the future that will be the icing on the cake and the council and Network Rail are working to achieve this.”
Blackpool’s railway is undergoing a 19 week revolution to upgrade and electrify the line between Blackpool and Preston. Work ramped up on 11 November and will continue into the spring to install the remaining overhead equipment, realigned tracks and a modern signalling system.
During the 19 week closure, Northern is running a full replacement bus service to keep customers on the move.
Network Rail will carry out vital upgrades to track and platforms at Blackpool North and Kirkham & Wesham stations. We are also upgrading the signalling system which includes installing 84 new modern signals which will help to make journeys more reliable.
The upgrade is a key strand of the multi-billion-pound Great North Rail Project, a railway industry team effort to transform train travel for customers across the north. The upgrade will make the railway bigger and better to cater for the increased volumes of people forecast to want to use it in future.