A more detailed evaluation of how a rail link to Skelmersdale could be constructed, with a station in the town centre and any practical design issues overcome, is to be developed by Lancashire County Council, Network Rail and Merseytravel (RAIL 757, 760).
This would take the proposal through Network Rail’s GRIP stage 3 (Governance for Railway Investment Projects, Option Selection.)
In approving the first part of this work on June 1, Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport John Fillis said: “Our plans to deliver a railway station for Skelmersdale are on track. Our ambition is for the proposed station to provide direct access to Liverpool, with two trains an hour, along with an hourly service to Manchester. We feel that the best route for funding the rail link and associated improvements would be through a Growth Deal, of the type which has been so successful in other parts of the county.”
Network Rail has advised the council that the GRIP3 work alone could cost as much as £4 million, and has suggested key dates:
- GRIP3 concluded, January 2017.
- GRIP4 (Single options selection), to January 2019.
- GRIP6 (Construction, commissioning) April 2021 to April 2023.
Train services start December 2023.