A FIFTH platform is set to return to Bolton train station - paving the way for a revival of Scottish services.
The new platform will mean more trains running through the town and would also increase the chances of Manchester to Scotland services returning through the station.
Keith Davies, head of development and regeneration at Bolton Council, revealed the plans as he gave an update to councillors on the progress of the £48 million Bolton Interchange project.
He said: “One of the issues that emerged over the last eight to nine months is of platform five.
“When discussing the possibility of a fifth platform, it was recognised that it could have implications into the design of the Bolton Interchange.
“We have spent quite a bit of time with Network Rail to resolve any potential issues, and platform five will now be undertaken. It’s good news for Bolton.”
The final proposal is dependent on the council and Network Rail receiving the relevant funding.
Bolton train station had a fifth platform until the early 1990s, before the track was concreted over to form a passenger car park.
When completed the new interchange will replace the existing bus station in Moor Lane and connect with the train station via a “sky link” bridge in Newport Street.
A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are assessing the possibility of reinstating platform five at Bolton station as part of plans to deliver a better railway services across the north of England.
“We are at an early stage and any proposal would require a thorough funding review process before being put forward for recommendation.”
The council and Network Rail are now in the early stages of applying for funding.
Cllr Andrew Fender, chairman of the Transport for Greater Manchester committee, said another platform at Bolton train station would complement the investment going into the region.
He said: “We welcome the possibility of reinstating platform five at Bolton and all the benefits it could bring to the town and passengers — benefits that would complement and build on the improvements already committed to through the Northern Hub programme.
“We will be working closely with Network Rail to make the strongest case possible for a proposal to be funded and, in turn, recommended for approval.”
In December, services running from Manchester to Edinburgh and Glasgow were re-directed through Wigan, meaning Bolton commuters lost a train an hour from the station.
The decision sparked The Bolton News’ Let’s Get Back On Track campaign, which led to Prime Minister David Cameron promising an extra 200 seats on morning rush-hour trains.
The line between Manchester and Preston is currently being electrified as part of a £400 million investment in the North West, and the Bolton to Wigan line will be electrified by 2017.
Bolton’s original main station building, which was on the opposite side of Trinity Street, was demolished in the 1980s. However, the Victorian buildings survive on the platforms. The original clock tower was dismantled and rebuilt next to the current station.
David Crausby, MP for Bolton North East, said: “It’s a good start and hopefully things will get better.
“A fifth platform is all very well but what we really need is more trains.
“This platform will give us the opportunity to get more trains, so I’m optimistic but we have got a considerable way to go to improve services in Bolton.
“The road connections to Manchester are bad too and people have been driven off the trains on to the roads.
“So if we can get an improvement to rail services then maybe that will have a positive impact on the roads.”
Preva Crossley, Bolton’s representative for the Greater Manchester Train Campaign, said he would welcome the fifth platform.
He added: “Anything that makes things easier for people travelling between Bolton and Manchester has got to be a good thing.
“That is the main route that we need help with. People making that journey have had a tough time recently so I am all for an extra platform.”