Skipton rail campaigners welcome 'important milestone'


6:55am 7th February 2018

Campaigners calling for the return of the Skipton-Colne rail line have welcomed the Transport Secretary's latest intervention.

On Saturday Chris Grayling announced a new study into the revival of the rail link, during a surprise visit to Colne.

The minister's visit, arranged by the MP for Pendle Andrew Stephenson, came exactly 48 years after the line between Skipton and Colne was closed in February 1970.

A statement has been released on behalf of the SELRAP (Skipton East Lancs Rail Action Partnership) Executive Committee:

"SELRAP has always believed that the Skipton to Colne project will form a vitally important modern transport link across Northern England.

"That is why SELRAP's campaign has always enjoyed such strong support from our members, local businesses and all of our local MP's.

"Accordingly we were delighted that the minister's speech, made to business leaders from across the North, fully recognised not only the importance of providing of modern passenger services for local communities, but that he also stressed the strategic importance of building faster transport links across all of the North.

"Chris Grayling's announcement was an important milestone in our campaign to reopen this "missing link".

"Therefore SELRAP now looks forward to working closely with Department for Transport and Transport for the North during their next stage of studies, with the aim of reopening this line sooner rather than later."

Councillor Don Mackenzie, North Yorkshire County Council's Executive Member for Transport, said:

"I am delighted by this announcement.

"I think it is an early demonstration of how joint working by a number of transport authorities alongside the soon-to-be-official body, Transport for the North, can influence ministers in London.

"Our approach to providing evidence of the need for and benefits of better transport links across the Pennines is paying off."

Cllr Mackenzie added: 'There are still lots of issues to be addressed, bridges would need replacing, bits of the old railway have now been built on and there will be problems getting the trains back on to the existing railways especially along the Aire Valley line though North Yorkshire, but it's a step in the right direction.

"I must also recognise that the efforts of the Skipton and East Lancs Rail Action Partnership (SELRAP) and local MPs and councillors from all parties and both sides of the Pennines who have all campaigned for this line to be reopened.

"We must all see this announcement as a success for the North working together and speaking with one voice.''

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