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From Keighley News, September 14th, 2018
Written by Miran Rahman

PROPOSALS which could one day provide Keighley with a direct rail to Manchester were on the agenda at a special meeting in Parliament. The meeting was jointly hosted by Keighley MP John Grogan, Andrew Stephenson, the MP for Pendle, and SELRAP (the Skipton-East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership) to examine progress on this project. The gathering on September 11 was designed to give MPs from across the area a chance to be updated on a feasibility study, announced by the Department for Transport in February.

Skipton and Ripon MP Julian Smith was among those attending the event to discuss the re-opening of the Skipton to Colne Line.

Also present were representatives from the Department for Transport, Transport for the North, Drax Power Station and Skipton Building Society

Mr Smith said: “I was really pleased to be able to attend such a helpful briefing.

“All contributors to the meeting were very positive about the ongoing feasibility study, and I will continue to support the project in any way I can.”

Meanwhile, Mr Grogan said he had asked the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent advances had been made on the study for the restoration of the Skipton to Colne Railway, and what the timetable is for receiving the final report from this study.

The response he got back, on September 10, states: “We are working closely with Transport for the North and relevant local transport authorities to evaluate the costs, benefits and funding options for reopening the line for passengers and freight, as part of a freight route across the Pennines.

“It builds on previous work commissioned by the local authorities and a local campaign group.

“Work is under way and we expect to receive the results later this year in the form of a Strategic Outline Business Case prepared in line with the Government’s new pipeline approach to rail enhancements.”

Commenting after receiving this answer, Mr Grogan said: “By the end of 2018 I am hoping there will be a clear business plan available for the restoration of the Skipton Colne Link.

“2019 will be the year of decision by the Department of Transport.

“If all goes well Keighley could have a direct rail link to Manchester and Manchester Airport before 2025.”

Campaigners have long been pressing for the restoration of the 12-mile Skipton to Colne railway line, which closed down in 1970.