Fresh Call for Friends at Squires Gate

Squires Gate
Credit: Nodrog Vlogs

Volunteers are needed to help maintain the station at Squires Gate on the South Fylde Line, and to make it look attractive to everyone who uses it.

Barrie Russell from the Friends of Squires Gate Station tells us more…

This work can be done by a “Friends Group”. The basics are usually things such as sweeping platforms, litter picking, planting flower beds and planters.

The train operator will also welcome the help in reporting faults on the station such as damaged fencing or faulty lights, and generally being around to make it look as though it’s a pleasure to use.

It is usual for such groups to meet once a fortnight during the period March – October, but that would be down to the membership to decide. It is also hoped that members would be the ‘eyes and ears’ on the station outside those times where possible and discreetly reports anything that looks damaged or reports any anti-social behaviour to British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40 or Text 61016.

There is no pressure to attend any or all of the events, after all, it is voluntary.
Any person under the age of 16 whilst welcomed, would need to be accompanied by a responsible adult (e.g. parent) and would require parental assent if they wish to join. No lone working. There is no maximum age so long as they are fit and healthy.

What do ‘Friends of Stations’ groups do?

Barrie Russell said

The short answer is as much or as little as you like. One thing we have to do is to make sure that Northern and Network Rail (Infrastructure owners) know that we want to be Station Friends and approve it.As our group grows we can seek funding for projects and/or get involved in all sorts of Community Rail activities.

Many groups brighten up their stations with children’s artwork and our local community rail partnership has already paid for running boards and seats with planters on the platform as you will see from the photos included in this information.

It is anticipated that at some stage links could be made with the local business communities and schools in the area so that they can be involved in some kind of partnership to develop the station and its ongoing use.

Squires Gate has a lot of potential not least with the Energy College, Food Venues, Electronics, Home-ware, other Retail stores and Support Services that reside on the Airport Enterprise Zone. Effectively you can become involved in community activity to share your knowledge and skills with others for the enjoyment of all who use the station.

The Chairman of the Friends of St Anne’s and Squires Gate Stations Councillor Tony Ford  said
“The station is the only one on the South Fylde Line that does not have its own Friends Group!”

If you want to ‘dip your feet’, why not visit one of the teams already active at Moss Side, Ansdell & Fairhaven, St Anne’s on the Sea, Lytham, Pleasure Beach or Blackpool South. You can see what they do and then decide on whether it’s the kind of thing you would like to be involved in developing at Squires Gate.

Learn more about the stations on the South Fylde Line: https://www.nodrogvlogs.uk/south-fylde-line-stations.html

Contact Details: 
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FriendsofSquiresGateStation

HISTORY: Once Stony Hill Railway Station

From 1885 and 1872 originally called Stony Hill Railway Station served the area when once the line only ran from Lytham to Blackpool Waterloo Rd. Once this line was connected the present station opened 14th September 1931 by the London Midland & Scottish Railway.

At its peak, this line ran all the way to Blackpool Central station serving millions of holidaymakers headed for the Golden Mile, closed in 1964.

Now only a single track the line halts at Blackpool South Station at Waterloo Rd nr Aldi and served by a train per hour-ish stops at six other stations along the run to Kirkham & Wesham Station that joins the Blackpool North line on to Preston.

A busy station for its type and is expected to become busier with the prospect of investment on the Blackpool Airport area, a government enterprise zone.

The Future of the South Fylde Line

If you love your trams there is a campaign to convert the line to light rail / trams that connect to the Blackpool tram system near the Pleasure Beach. However, this is in its infancy – positive steps are moving in this direction as it is recognised the line does need better transport links especially with the projected growth of the area.

Installing a tram system is not without it’s expected issues in relation to links for the main railway lines out of the area, funding and running the system on to the promenade, so for now for the next generation at least, trains will continue to serve this section.

It can not be ignored the line is very busy and larger capacity trains will start to run a better service than of late as the old Pacer Trains BR class 142’s will be removed off the network by the end of 2018.

Great news for train lovers, Network Rail have it in their sights to put a short section of doubled track thus two trains may pass on the single line system.  With this in mind, new routes may open the line up to further improvements and potentially benefiting the local communities and passengers overall.

In 2008 The South Fylde Line was identified as a secondary branch line within Network Rail’s cross-Pennine, Yorks and Humber and north-west strategic route plan.

Part of the improvements was to reduce to burden of cost to the taxpayer on funding this section. Improvements to ticketing and revenue, trains, stations and access were identified.

Develop with partners a Marketing Plan for the line with a permanent goal in mind.

Gordon’s Opinion: considering that many regards this service as the ‘Forgotten Line’, it has such a bright future waiting in the ‘sidings of progress’. Personally, it’s not just for the local authorities to join with the rail authorities to champion the line, it’s also down to the rail user and rail beneficiaries like Blackpool Pleasure Beach and other businesses along this important secondary branch line to pay some attention also – as I’m sure they will.

The line to watch dare I say?

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  • Also would it be step-free. Such as installing ramps or lifts. Despite the railway station doesn’t have many passengers and the branch line isn’t as busy than on the Blackpool North line which has been electrified. As it’s located near to Blackpool Airport.

    • Plus will the disused platform on the picture will also be reused once again. As I’m thinking of it should be reused once again to add more additional trains and to help boost the service that the South Fylde Line really needs.