GREATER Manchester mayor Andy Burnham is determined to do what he could not achieve as Leigh's MP- deliver a railway station.

Speaking at his latest Mayor’s Question Time at The Turnpike in Leigh on Tuesday, Mr Burnham believes opening a station at Kenyon Junction is the best possible short term option for the town.

It is a move which Lowton East Neighbourhood Development Forum (LENDF) chairman Ed Thwaite and councillor James Grundy, who was at the evening session, has been calling on for years.

The junction and Leigh station both closed in 1969 and proposals for new railway links in the borough were rejected in favour of £68m being spent on building the guided busway.

Mr Burnham said: "I want to achieve something that I could not achieve in Parliament for Leigh and that is to get a train station to serve this constituency.

"If there was one issue raised more than any other it was this.

"I dearly wish I could have done that.

"Now in this role I can do something.

"I have said to Transport for Greater Manchester if there is more development in Leigh then we need much better public transport infrastructure than we currently have.

"We cannot carry on building for the road here.

"I believe the best option for Leigh in the short term is a station at Kenyon Junction.

"But that would require the agreement of colleagues in Warrington as well.

"If that is wanted I am ready to work to make that a reality because I believe this area needs to be reconnected to the railway network."

Towards the end of the event, the mayor made it clear that he wanted to promote plans for Kenyon Junction more than any other issue raised on the night.

Meanwhile, Mr Grundy's fellow Conservative ward councillor Edward Houlton asked for the mayor's backing in a campaign to stop the HS2 railway line running through Lowton.

Mr Burnham said that although he supported the successful campaign which stopped the building of a HS2 depot in Golborne, he thinks the line will offer "opportunity" for the area.

He said: "The laying of new railway infrastructure brings opportunity.

"I still believe there is a major case for a parkway station that could be east-west and north-south off the East Lancs.

"I remain of the view that that is a potential solution.

"We cannot carry on with road congestion at the level that we currently have.

"I understand concerns (of the HS2), and I genuinely do, but you have to look at it from a whole borough point of view.

"It would give Wigan a major advantage over Warrington.

"It would, in my view, take more cars off the M6.

"I don't believe we can carry on as we are.

"And therefore, difficult as it is, we are going to accept some things that are challenging but are needed to create new public transport capacity.

"In my view, I think it (HS2) will deliver longer term benefits."

Mr Houlton followed up the mayor's answer by saying that the HS2 trains won't go directly from Wigan to London.

Mr Burnham said he will raise the query with Transport for Greater Manchester as he was not aware about this.

On the night, the former Labour cabinet member also defended the guided busway and said the fact that 60,000 people a week use the service proves its worth.

He would like to see the busway extended to Lowton and Golborne.