A TRAIN operating company has defended its decision to move a key service from St Helens Junction to nearby Lea Green - and says it will look to improve parking facilities.

The Star reported how campaigners who lobbied for increased car parking facilities at Junction expressed dismay after a key peak hour service was switched to nearby Lea Green.

Dave Barrow-Yates, from Sutton Leach, had campaigned for increased provision at Junction to ease congestion and welcomed the creation of an expanded 240-space car park at the station which was unveiled last year.

However, Dave, 48, whose husband Christian travels to Manchester each morning on the express train, was left dismayed after timetable alterations saw the journey stop at neighbouring Lea Green each morning instead.

He said this has resulted in issues which had plagued the area around Junction being transferred to Lea Green.

And last week he expressed further disappointment at cars being ticketed at Lea Green for incorrect parking due to the congestion.

Dave told the Star: "We have still not had any updates from TransPennine, who said last time they were contacted that they were looking at possibly changing the express service to stop at St Helens junction, which as you know as a lovely new empty carpark!"

He added: "In my opinion this is due to a lack of communication and incompetence when the TransPennine service was introduced from Nothern's service and the station was changed for some reason to Lea Green.

"It would be really interesting to know why TransPennine implemented the station change in the first place!"

When contacted by the Star, a spokesperson for TransPennine Express said: “Before TransPennine Express began operating services from Lea Green in 2018, we spoke with local stakeholders who felt that Lea Green had better road and transport links than St Helens Junction."

He added: "We are also aware of the ongoing parking issues at Lea Green and we are working alongside other rail operators and the local council on the possibility of increasing the amount of car parking spaces at the station."