My Views

August 18th, 2023
Written by John Grogan

I recently chaired a meeting between Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh MP (second right) and officers of SELRAP (Skipton East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership) to discuss the proposed restoration of a twelve mile rail link between Skipton and Colne which was closed in 1970.

This would allow trains from Keighley to run directly into East Lancashire. It would also be an important new line for freight. The Mayor of West Yorkshire and the Leader of Bradford Council were also in attendance.

Restoring the Skipton Colne Link would be the quickest way to get an additional rail link across the Pennines for both passengers and freight. It could be completed by the early 2030’s at an estimated cost of £250 million. It would complement other plans for a high speed rail link. I wanted to make sure that if Labour is fortunate enough to get into government there is a strong understanding both locally and nationally about the importance of the project.

Chris Oakley of Selrap told me:

“SELRAP were extremely pleased with the positive stance taken by those at the meeting on the rail line reopening, its strategic importance and the transformational change it could bring about in the towns of East Lancashire and the Aire valley”

Leader of the Council Susan Hinchcliffe said: 

"It was great to have Selrap talk through the Skipton Colne rail link opportunity with the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport and Mayor Brabin. They set out a really strong case with clear business and passenger benefits”