The Burscough Curves were two sections of rail track which connected the Southport to Burscough train line with Preston to the north, and Ormskirk and Liverpool to the South.
Unfortunately this line was axed as part of the Beeching cuts during the 1960s, and ever since Southport residents have overwhelmingly sought their return.
The track meant that Southport residents could commute by train directly to Preston and Ormskirk – and beyond – without having to make the 15 minute walk to change from Burscough Bridge station to Burscough Junction.
I believe that the restoration of the Curves would be relatively low cost, and would provide substantial economic benefits for Southport and the wider Lancashire area. The increase in visitors and footfall to our town that the project would ensure would be a massive boost to businesses as they recover from Covid-19.
I began making representations to the Government on this issue just after my election in 2017. In January 2018 I invited the then Secretary of State for Transport to a meeting with local stakeholders to discuss connectivity issues, including the Burscough Curves.
Southport’s opportunity came in January 2020 when the Government introduced a £500 million Restoring your Railways Fund, the objective of which is to provide funding to communities across the country that will benefit from better rail connections and boost access to jobs and education.
In February 2020 I joined with a strong team of neighbouring MPs – on a cross-party basis – to submit a joint proposal to the Restoring your Railways Fund to see the Curves’ return. Those involved include West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper, South Ribble MP Katherine Fletcher, Preston MP Sir Mark Hendrick, as well as the then-leader of Lancashire County Council. Our proposals are also being supported by the Ormskirk, Preston, and Southport Travellers’ Association.
Also in February I asked the Prime Minister whether he agreed with me that the re-instatement of the Burscough Curves would help Southport unleash our economic potential. The Prime Minister agreed, saying it was a great idea. You can watch this here.
We have been working on our bids with the Department for Transport since. A major meeting with Transport for the North, Lancashire County Council, Merseyrail, the supporting MPs, OPSTA, and others was held at Southport College in 2022 in which we agreed to pursue the case further. I will update residents as further progress is made.