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BBLG rail lobby pays off

Direct Blackpool to London rail services have finally been reinstated - with the help of the resort's business leaders.

The Blackpool Business Leadership Group was one of a number of local organisations that challenged Network Rail's decision not to allow the reinstatement of direct rail links between Blackpool North and London Euston.

But Virgin Trains have now announced that the Office of Rail Regulation has agreed to a Monday to Friday service being introduced from December this year.

The service will depart from Blackpool North at 05.25 calling at Poulton, Kirkham, Preston, Wigan North Western, Warrington Bank Quay, Crewe and Nuneaton before arriving at Euston at 08.34. The return service departs Euston at 16.33 arriving back in Blackpool at 19.31.

Martin Long, chair of the group, said: "We are delighted that the service has been reinstated. We have long campaigned for this because of the potential benefits for the business community and for the Blackpool visitor economy."

"We must now ensure that the service is well used and that it becomes a permanent fixture on the timetables."

Virgin Trains is planning to launch the inaugural service at a special ceremony at Blackpool North on Monday 15 December.