Railway station revamp plan welcomed by city leaders

An example of the high speed 'HS2' train

An example of the high speed 'HS2' train

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COUNCIL and business chiefs have welcomed plans to make Preston railway station “HS2 ready” as part of the city’s bid to join the Northern Powerhouse.

The Lancashire Enterprise Partnership says a raft of measures – including a massive redevelopment of the city’s station, creating thousands of jobs – could unlock massive economic potential.

And it could mean rail journeys from Preston to London in just 77 minutes.

An ambitious 48-page reportoutlines the LEP’s national, regional and local transport priorities. One plan is the transformation of Preston station ahead of a link to HS2 and HS3, which is set to reach Manchester.

Coun Peter Rankin, leader of Preston City Council, said: “We welcome this announcement from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (which) also places a strong focus around improvements at Preston railway station and associated public transport infrastructure.”

Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “In terms of the transport strategy laid out in the prospectus, there has to be the right connectivity in place to ensure the proposed ‘Northern Powerhouse’ can be achieved and that Preston benefits from it.”

But some Evening Post readers were unconvinced.

Frenchwoody wrote on lep.co.uk: “A reduction in travel times to London would put us within the greater London commuting zone which could have a damaging effect on house prices.” Reader Notlikeitusedtobe said: “Who will be able to afford to travel on these trains?” And One More Guild said: “The West Coast Mainline is close to capacity, and so are the trains.”