CAMPAIGNERS want an old railway station to be revived to connect Leigh to the network.
Residents from the Lowton East Neighbourhood Development Forum (LENDF) say the former station at Kenyon Junction on the Manchester to Liverpool line should be pressed back into use.
They reckon the site, which is currently used by Network Rail as a base for its electrification work, could deliver a station for Leigh passengers within a year at a cost of between £6m and £12m.
LENDF says the plan is more cost-effective and more likely to succeed than plans for an interchange at Lowton where the line is crossed by the proposed HS2 route.
Its chairman Ed Thwaite said: “It seems to us to be a realistic and common sense proposal. A station at Kenyon would allow passengers to get into Manchester to connect to intercity services within 20 minutes. It’s on the existing line and there’s space for all the car parking you could wish for with a little slip road.
“When we have spoken to residents many said that if there’s going to be a station for Leigh, Kenyon is the best place for it. If the plans for HS2 go through then we will accept it and work to mitigate the impact on local residents as best we can, but the only person who can decide on a station for Leigh there is the transport secretary.
“Our proposal will enable people to make connections and catch trains to London but also get them to Manchester or Liverpool where they work, so it serves all purposes.”
Mr Thwaite says LENDF wants to meet Leigh MP Andy Burnham, Wigan Council and Warrington Council to try to move the Kenyon Junction project forwards.
The Kenyon station is also being supported by Conservative councillor James Grundy of Lowton East ward,and local businessman John Fallon, who currently leases the flat, hardcore site to Network Rail.
Mr Fallon said the recent decision to build a new station at Buckshaw Parkway between Chorley and Preston, which cost £6.8m, showed the scheme was feasible.
He said: “It’s a massive site and people are amazed when they see how big it is. There’s plenty of car parking space and even the possibility of a park and ride. The only thing Kenyon is short of is a ticket office and platforms. We are half way there and the Buckshaw site was developed from scratch. The station also wouldn’t affect any houses because there’s only one property near it.”