IMPROVING passenger access to trains travelling to Blackburn, Accrington, Burnley, Nelson and Colne has been identified as a priority in a report on the future development of Preston railway station for the Lancashire Enterprise partnership.

It says the interchange from West Coast Main Line services between London and Glasgow to the East Lancashire line is currently poor.

The report by Dave Colbert, the LEP's specialist adviser for transport planning, says any future changes to the station should take this into account,

It says: "Central Lancashire is a transport hub of national significance, providing most of Lancashire's connections to the West Coast Main Line, the M6 and, in the future, to HS2.

"Preston station is the busiest station in the North West outside of Manchester and Liverpool city centres and one of the busiest in the North of England.

"Over the last ten years, the number of passengers using Preston Station has increased by 44 per cent.

"The station provides connections into main line services from Blackpool, Blackburn and East Lancashire, Lancaster and the Lake District.

"Preston Station currently has six operational through platforms and two bay platforms at its southern end.

"Whilst platforms three and four are relatively spacious, platforms one and two are narrow and very busy throughout the day.

"These platforms generally accommodate Blackpool, Liverpool and East Lancashire services.

"Unlike other platforms, there is no ramp access to these platforms and the lift is at the southern end of the station, furthest away from any entrance.

"Pedestrian circulation around the station is currently very constrained and provided for largely by a narrow footbridge that does not support efficient cross-platform interchange.

"The only other means of moving between platforms is via a subway towards the southern end of the station, which again is narrow and does not offer a suitable environment for passengers.

"These issues need considering in the context of the near 1.5 million interchanges per annum that take place, many of which will be between long distance services on the West Coast Main Line and more local services to Blackpool and East Lancashire."

The report on the creation of 'a high quality, contemporary transport hub with enhanced passenger and commercial facilities' will be considered by the LEP's Transport for Lancashire Committee on January10.