New Morecambe and Heysham railway stations and electric trains hope for Eden Project

New railway stations and regular electric trains are needed for Morecambe Bay attractions like the Eden Project and Morecambe Football Club, say Lancaster city councillors.
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Their call also emphasised the need to boost transport for existing residents as well as future visitors and Lancaster students who may live in Morecambe.

This followed the government’s cancellation of HS2 high-speed rail to the north and, in turn, the government unveiling a £494million pot for Lancashire through the Local Transport Fund.

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Government minister Esther McVey MP visited Morecambe last month to highlight it.

Eden Project Morecambe.Eden Project Morecambe.
Eden Project Morecambe.

In Lancashire, transport planning is mainly a county council role.

However, Lancaster City Council is the ‘accountable body’ for the Eden Project on a working group.

A motion signed by 15 councillors representing 37,000 residents has been supported at a full Lancaster City Council meeting.

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Councillors said in their motion: “Substantial community benefits can be achieved by new stations or halts in Heysham, between Oxcliffe Road and Mossgate Park, in Westgate near the Morecambe football stadium and in Poulton at York Bridge.

Catherine Potter, standing, at Lancaster City Council. Pic: Robbie MacDonald LDRS Partner approved.Catherine Potter, standing, at Lancaster City Council. Pic: Robbie MacDonald LDRS Partner approved.
Catherine Potter, standing, at Lancaster City Council. Pic: Robbie MacDonald LDRS Partner approved.

“Visitors to Morecambe could be served by a station with a park-and ride car park on land owned by the city and county councils at the Bay Gateway near Trumacar roundabout.

"New stations should be built whilst other improvements including electrification are being implemented to benefit Eden visitors.”

Labour Councillor Catherine Potter said: “The motion recognises the transformation that Eden will bring. We hear great support for Eden from residents. The only concerns are about transport.

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“We also hear talk about Network Rail regarding Lancaster, Morecambe and Heysham.

"The Lancaster Civic Vision group believes we should push for electrification, possibly using battery-powered trains or electrification of the rail line. But we must ensure train services are the right quality.

“There was formerly a station at York Bridge and the current rail line goes right to the port of Heysham.

"Let’s get some stations along the line so people can get on trains. They don’t need to be large stations.

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“We appreciate there are challenges including space on the West Coast Mainline. However we want Lancaster City Council to support this.”

Independent Councillor Roger Cleet said: “Last year, at the community forum in Morecambe Winter Gardens many people asked how are we going to get 4,000 people a day to the Eden Project? They raised all sorts of questions about travel.

“Battery powered trains are the answer using charging points. A seven minute charge is enough for a train to travel 60 miles. There are electric-powered trains in Liverpool. What better start could visitors have to the Eden Project than travelling on electric powered trains?”

Green Councillor Gina Dowding said: “We need to be ambitious and there is definitely scope for Heysham line improvements. But this will need serious lobbying.

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"There are some massive hurdles including the West Coast Mainline.It needs investment to free-up capacity for Morecambe trains.

"The mainline hinders us from having more regular trains. We could have ten-minute services to Morecambe, if there was space.

"But there’s to be new Scottish services to London soon which will create extra pressure.”

She added: “The government’s £494million transport fund has been celebrated. But there’s no guarantee it’ll be used for rail. It’s very likely to go on potholes.”