East Lancashire railway revival receives boost from Rail Minister

Credit: Pimlico Badger/Open Verse- Abandoned for 50 years, a historic railway line between Colne and Skipton could be one step closer to reopening.

A plan to restore a historic railway line linking East Lancashire to Yorkshire has received an “encouraging” boost after Rail Minister Huw Merriman agreed to meet with the area’s MPs.

Mr Merriman affirmed his commitment to meeting with MPs for Hyndburn, Burnley and Pendle to create a business case for the reinstatement of a railway link between Colne and Skipton.

Campaigners for the restoration of the SELRAP or Skipton to East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership have been pressing for the line to reopen in order to aid the economy of East Lancashire, one of the most economically deprived areas in the UK.

The trans-pennine connection has been closed since 1970 and is missing 11 miles of track that would provide a vital link between Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Burnley MP Anthony Higginbotham met with Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Levelling Up minister Jacob Young today to discuss levelling up in the region, and says that the “Colne to Skipton railway line” was one of the issues raised in their meeting.

Campaigners for the renewed SELRAP line claim the connection would serve the 250,000 inhabitants of East Lancashire with economic growth and opportunity, by attracting new businesses to the area, as well as allowing commuters to reach Leeds city centre in an hour.

The plans have received support from Arriva Northern Trains and Skipton Building Society, as well as Drax, Britain’s largest electricity generator, and Peel Ports, as the restoration will create a fourth East-West trans-pennine rail route and allow for freight goods to move across the region quicker and more efficiently.