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Lancashire-Yorkshire train link feasibility study

Transport for the North and Department for Transport have commissioned a feasibility study to investigate the possibility of reopening Skipton-Colne rail link.

Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, announced the study during a visit to Colne Railway Station. The potential for reopening the historic line will be assessed throughout the year, with the hope it could bring faster rail routes across the Pennines.

The 12-mile line, between Skipton and Colne, was closed in 1970. Bringing back new passenger services between Lancashire, Skipton and Leeds, will connect towns on the route and provide opportunities to jobs and education.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We are carrying out the biggest investment in the North for a generation and are committed to improving rail links to boost the Northern Powerhouse.

“The historic line between Skipton and Colne could deliver a vital connection between the North-West and North-East, generating a vital cross-Pennine link to boost business and move goods between the east and west much more quickly.

“I want this study to look clearly at the business case and value that the line could provide.”

The study supports Transport for the North’s ambition to improve connectivity in the central Pennines corridor.

Transport for the North’s Chief Executive, Barry White, said: “We are delighted that the Department for Transport has committed to exploring the possibility of reopening the railway line between Skipton and Colne. We will now work with the Department, taking note of previous work undertaken, to produce a cost and economic benefit study for re-opening the line.

“In our recently published draft Strategic Transport Plan for the North, we identified the Central Pennines as one of seven Strategic Development Corridors vital to future economic growth in the North. This work could help to improve connectivity in the Central Pennines and a reopened rail link between Skipton and Colne could create a new, faster freight-route across the Pennines as well as benefiting passengers with new services between Lancashire, Skipton and Leeds.”

He added: “This supports our vision of a thriving North of England, where modern transport connections drive economic growth and support an excellent quality of life.”

Part of Transport for the North’s work will be to assess other lines across the North, which were closed under the Beeching and British Rail cuts of the 60s and 70s, looking at which schemes will unlock housing and growth, ease crowded routes, meet future demand and offer good value for money. It has set aside significant funding for the development of new railway schemes in the next railway funding period from 2019 to 2024.


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