Funding which could help bring a train station back to Golborne for the first time in sixty years has been agreed today (Friday, 29 January 2021).
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority, chaired by Mayor Andy Burnham, met this morning and agreed to allocate £15m to progress the scheme, after feasibility studies showed there was “a strong case” for the station.
It follows years of campaigning to bring a railway link back to Golborne by residents, community groups and businesses, as well as Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, Leigh MP James Grundy and local councillors Yvonne Klieve, Gena Merritt and Susan Gambles. It was also something former Leigh MP Jo Platt was supportive of.
Reacting to confirmation that the funding was proposed to come from Greater Manchester’s Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) last week, Cllrs Klieve, Merritt and Gambles were hopeful that the railway station could be open to passengers in as little as three years.
When reopened, passengers using the new station would have easy access to both Wigan and to Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly. More routes may even follow at a later stage.
Those in favour of the station worked hard to successfully build a case for its reopening – but there was always a question mark over how the station would be paid for.
So confirmation that £15m will be found from the £69.5m Transport Plan for Greater Manchester is extremely significant – although a final business case will still need to be made to Government to get approval to go ahead.
And Mayor Andy Burnham did also highlight concerns that the station’s viabiliy would be affected if proposed cuts to the Cumbria to Manchester Airport service – which runs through Golborne – went ahead, something he said the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Wigan Council would be making “extremely strong representations” to prevent.
“Superb news” for the people of Golborne
Supporters of the proposals hope that the station will be a catalyst for regeneration in the town, improving transport links with Golborne and the rest of the region and reducing congestion and air pollution in the area.
With no direct bus service from Golborne to Manchester at present, and the nearest railway station being more than 3km away at Newton-le-Willows, the station will open up lots of possibilities for people locally.
David Molyneux, Leader of Wigan Council said: “The confirmation of funding for a new station at Golborne is superb news. It will connect the town and the wider area with Wigan, Manchester, Cumbria and the Airport, providing more opportunities for our residents, reducing traffic on local roads and regenerating Golborne’s economy.
“This is the result of a lot of hard work, including from the local community and I want to thank everyone who pushed hard for this to become a reality. This isn’t the end of the process, we still need to make the business case to Government and our partners but this will mean we have the money to deliver if we get the go-ahead.”
Reacting to the news, Alan Percival from Golborne and Lowton West Voice said: “Great news today regarding our town being earmarked for a new station. Thanks to everyone on the Voice who have campaigned so hard to make this happen.
“This couldn’t happen without the support of the community. It is the local people who strive to make our town “the best that it can be” who should take the credit for this.
“There’s still a way to go and we are now relying on others to take forward the plan to completion.”
James Grundy, MP for Leigh, said: “I strongly welcome the progress that has been made in the last twelve months regarding the proposed reopening of Golborne Station.
“Last year I met with Andy Burnham to discuss this matter, and just last week I discussed how to progress this project when I met with Rail Minister Chris Heaton Harris, along with a discussion on proposals for a station for Leigh on the Liverpool to Manchester line at Kenyon Junction. I also strongly welcome proposals for a new park and ride facility at Tyldesley.
“At last, after decades of talk, we are beginning to make concrete progress in addressing the lack of infrastructure that has for so long held back local communities. I hope the Greater Manchester Combined Authority backs these proposals.”
When did Golborne Station close, and why?
Golborne Station opened in the 1930s on what became the West Coast Mainline. It was originally known as Golborne Gate, later just as ‘Golborne’ and subsequently Golborne South.
The station was one of those earmaked for closure as part of the Beeching cuts. It closed to passengers on 6 February 1961. Goods traffic continued until just after a year later.
You can read more about the station’s history on disused-stations.org.uk.
A very kind thank you to John Alsop for allowing us to use the image at the top of this article, showing Golborne Station as it was around 1910.
Are you excited to hear that Golborne may have a station again?
Let us know what this news means to you in the comments below.