Skelmersdale MP accuses government of station snub 'betrayal'

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merseyrail trainImage source, El Pollock/Geograph
Image caption,
Skelmersdale's hopes of having direct trains to Liverpool have been dashed

A Labour MP has accused the government of "betrayal" after plans for a railway station in Skelmersdale were rejected.

Rosie Cooper said she was "disgusted" that the town in her West Lancashire constituency would remain one of the country's biggest without a rail link.

The plans would have seen two direct trains to and from Liverpool per hour.

Lancashire County Council said it was informed by the government on Thursday. The Department for Transport has been approached by the BBC for a response.

The council said it would continue to push for transport improvements in Skelmersdale.

Skelmersdale was designated a new town on 9 October 1961 and its original railway station closed to passengers in 1956.

The wider West Lancashire district has an estimated population of 117,000.

'Cruel joke'

Plans to build a station on land used by a closed sports college had been put forward in 2021 by Lancashire County Council, Merseytravel and West Lancashire Borough Council.

The proposed infrastructure would have connected to the existing Kirkby-Wigan line.

A council spokesman said it had been told by the government that the department would focus on other options which included improving that line.

Ms Cooper accused the government of playing a "cruel joke" because it had used Skelmersdale "as an example of how they will be 'levelling up' rail transport" in the north of England.

She asked: "Why are we being neglected and ignored?

"This is not the end, and we will keep fighting for a train station to finally be returned to Skelmersdale."

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