A study into the rail corridors of west and central Lancashire have identified three opportunities to develop the rail network that should be taken forward for further development. The report was commissioned by Chorley, South Ribble, and West Lancashire Councils.
- Burscough Bridge unconnected extension – a short extension of Merseyrail services from Ormskirk to a new platform east of the A59 at Burscough Bridge (on the Southport-Wigan railway line) with access through the arches of the road bridge. This relies on either electrification or use of the new rolling stock on hybrid (electric-battery) power. It would improve connectivity and form the first phase of a large programme of improvements.
- New station at Midge Hall / Leyland West (on the Preston-Ormskirk line) to serve existing and planned development, provided sufficient new housing is brought forward within its catchment area to provide new demand for rail services.
- New station in the Parker Lane / New Longton / Coote Lane area (on the Preston-Ormskirk line), depending on the quantity and type of new housing that might be built close by.
Other options for exploration in the medium term included improved services between Burscough and Preston using either heavy rail or light rail plus a new station at Coppull, which would require capacity increases to the WCML between Wigan and Preston
Source: Central Lancashire Strategic Planning Joint Advisory Committee, 10 November 2020