Further Bus Service Improvement Plan-funded work has been delivered in Lancashire with the introduction of the fast 319 Trainlink service between Skelmersdale and Kirkby.
Kirkby railway station on the Merseyrail network is served, which Lancashire County Council (LCC) says reduces the intermodal travel time between Skelmersdale and Liverpool to under 50 minutes. Buses connect with Merseyrail trains and run every 30min during the day Monday to Saturday, and hourly in the evening and on Sundays. The route will also serve the new Headbolt Lane railway station when it opens later in 2023.
319 Trainlink is operated by Stagecoach Cheshire, Merseyside and South Lancashire from its Gilmoss depot in Liverpool on behalf of LCC. Utilised are two high-specification Alexander Dennis Enviro300s that were formerly part of the Stagecoach Gold fleet. The M58 motorway is used for part of the journey.
Although the 319 Trainlink route offers rail connections, bus and train tickets must currently be purchased separately. LCC says that integrated ticketing is being developed “for future introduction with Merseytravel,” although Trainlink currently has a £6 introductory weekly offer in place.
Commencement of the route is part of a £34m programme of BSIP-funded uplifts in Lancashire. Further “significant improvements” are due over the coming three years, says LCC Executive Director of Growth Phil Green.
On 319 Trainlink, Mr Green adds: “This express link to Kirkby will make journeys to and from Liverpool much easier for people in Skelmersdale. That will open up opportunities for people travelling to Liverpool for work, education and leisure and also link Skelmersdale into the national rail network at Kirkby.”