Bringing in direct train lines from Bolton to London would be a “no brainer” after plans were put forward earlier this year.

This comes after Virgin Rail applied “to explore what would be possible in May ahead of a proposed start date by the end of December 2025.

Now the leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Nick Peel, says that further connectivity like this could be of huge economic benefit to the borough.

He said: “Connectivity between London and other towns is of proven economic benefit so good connectivity brings great economic and commercial opportunities.

“So, it’s a no brainer that a direct line between Bolton and London would benefit Bolton.”

Trains to London Euston would go through Bolton StationTrains to London Euston would go through Bolton Station (Image: Newsquest)

He added: “People make decisions now about where they live based on affordable housing and good transport links, particularly now that many people work from home at least some of the time.

“So this again is why a direct train to London would be of benefit to Bolton.”

Earlier this year Virgin applied to the Office of Rail and Road for an “open access” agreement to run trains that would go from Bolton to London from December 2025 onwards.

If approved the route would go from London Euston to Nuneaton, Stoke, Stockport and Manchester Piccadilly.

It would then continue on to Bolton, Horwich and Chorley before terminating at Preston.

A Virgin Group spokesperson said: “Virgin has submitted an application to the Office of Rail and Road for four Open Access rail paths.  

“Whilst this application is just the first step towards exploring what might be possible, we think Open Access is the way forward. 

Open Access increases consumer choice and competition both of which Virgin has always supported. 

“Virgin is exceptionally proud of everything Virgin Trains and its wonderful onboard teams achieved in the UK.

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“In the 20 years Virgin Trains operated on the West Coast, they reduced journey times considerably, tripled services on key routes and provided an exceptional customer experience while increasing passenger numbers from 8 million to 42 million per year. 

“The team won many awards for service and was incredibly popular with the British public. 

“We’re confident customers would welcome Virgin Trains back, providing them with much-needed choice and competition.”

The application is currently being considered by the Office of Rail and Road.