Massive boost for railway station plan

Glenburn Sports College, Skelmersdale
Glenburn Sports College, Skelmersdale

Ambitious plans to reconnect a town centre to Wigan borough’s railway network have taken a massive step forward.

The former Glenburn Sports College and Westbank Campus site in Skelmersdale could become the location of the town’s long-awaited train station, Lancashire County Council has revealed.

This is a really exciting step forward in the process of bringing a railway station to Skelmersdale

County Coun John Fillis

The former education facilities have been preferred over a site next to the Concourse shopping centre to restore one of the town’s major public transport connections.

LCC is working in partnership with West Lancashire Borough Council and Merseytravel to make the station, which would connect to the Wigan Wallgate to Kirkby route via a spur line, a reality.

Proposals show the station will be the centrepiece of an impressive transport hub also including a bus interchange and a park and ride which will start with space for 250 vehicles.

County Coun John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport at LCC, said: “This is a really exciting step forward in the process of bringing a railway station to Skelmersdale. This was a comprehensive study and clearly identified the Glenburn Sports College and Westbank Campus site as the most suitable option. The site is big enough to provide a high quality station with scope to expand to meet future demand. It has good highway access and good connectivity to the town and the surrounding area. There is still a long way to go on this project but identifying the right site is a really significant milestone on the way.”

LCC, which already owns the Glenburn site, is now starting the process of buying the rest of the land needed. Both sites are currently unused, with Glenburn Sports College closing in August 2016 and Westbank Campus merging with Skelmersdale and Ormskirk College in 2007.

The proposed station site sits a couple of miles from the current line which stops at Pemberton, Orrell and Up Holland and the spur line will also have to cross the M58.

The former college was chosen as the best location following a feasibility study conducted by Network Rail. The potential sites were assessed for impact on the road network, having good pedestrian and cycle access and providing a park-and-ride area big enough to cater for 500 vehicles.

The station should also have a large building for passengers and staff, a bus interchange with up to four stands and enable people to easily access the town centre and surrounding housing estates. The station is also a key aspect of local Government plans to regenerate Skelmersdale.