Blackpool Branch Lines
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|Blackpool Branch Lines|
North West England
First TransPennine Express
|Rolling stock||Class 142
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
The Blackpool Branch Line runs from Preston to Blackpool. The line diverges at Kirkham and Wesham junction - a double track branch runs to Blackpool North station (Blackpool's main passenger station), while a single track branch runs to Blackpool South station.
Preston to Blackpool North
The route is used by the bulk of Blackpool's passenger trains, providing services to Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds as well as other destinations. The planned electrification of the Manchester to Blackpool North route was announced in December 2009.
At Poulton junction, the freight-only Burn Naze branch diverges. This serves the industrial areas and ports around Fleetwood, and used to carry passenger traffic to the town, but the line has now been lifted from Burn Naze onward. Proposals exist to reopen the line in the future, as a large amount of track still remains and volunteers have begun to clear the line of the vegetation with which it was previously overgrown.
Preston to Blackpool South
This single line branch serves Lytham St Annes as well as Blackpool Pleasure Beach, each with their own station. Currently one service per hour runs along this branch. The line was reduced from double to single track in the early 1980s. Until 1964 it ran further North into Blackpool to serve Blackpool Central station.
Kirkham to Blackpool Central
As well as the line via Blackpool South, a flyover junction at Kirkham and Wesham provided direct access to Blackpool Central station. Blackpool Central station closed in 1964 and its site is now where the Central Car Park stands; the trackbed and embankment has been used for the road Yeadon Way (built in the 1990s), which provides direct access from the M55. The first 2 miles of the M55 also occupy the former trackbed, until the Blackpool North line travels under the motorway at the point where the lines used to merge.