Lancashire County Council is taking the next step towards connecting Skelmersdale town centre to the rail network.
The council has commissioned a new study to help decide which of two possible sites would be the best place for a railway station.
The assessment to be carried out by Network Rail will compare the benefits of putting the station on land behind the Concourse Shopping Centre or on the site of the former Glenburn High School.
County Councillor John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We’re working through the formal process required by the rail industry to demonstrate the business case for investment in major new infrastructure, and this study is the next step.
“We’ve already demonstrated that the project can be delivered and should provide good value for money, and we now need to look in more detail at the practicalities, with one major consideration being where the station would be best located.”
The study will examine issues including how well the sites could be accessed by public transport, cyclists and pedestrians following proposed changes to local roads, and the feasibility of providing a 250-space car park with the potential to extend it to 500 spaces.
It will also look at how well each site could accommodate a bus/rail interchange with 2 platforms for trains, 4 drive-through stands for buses, and a booking and information office.
County Councillor Fillis added: “A rail link for Skelmersdale is one of a wider set of proposals in our highways and transport masterplan to improve the town’s transport network and make it easier for people to travel on foot or on their bike.
“Our aim is for Skelmersdale’s railway station to provide regular journeys to Manchester and Liverpool, which would have a real impact on the opportunities available to residents and businesses.
“I hope that we will be able to fund the station, and other major improvements, through a Growth Deal with government as we have done in other parts of the county.
“This study is another step towards ensuring we can make the case that the investment needed will be money well spent to ensure the local economy can grow for decades to come.”
The study is estimated to cost £71,000 and is due to be completed later this year.