Ribble Valley residents invited to have their say on the proposed reopening of historic rail line

Residents and rail enthusiasts in the Ribble Valley are invited to have their say on the proposed reopening of the historic Clitheroe to Hellifield line to passengers.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 12:30 pm

The Government is considering reopening the line, which was axed by Beeching in 1962, signalling a massive economic boost to the borough and beyond worth tens of millions of pounds.

Ribble Valley Borough Council was told last year that its bid to the Government’s Restoring Your Railways Ideas Fund to work up a business case for reopening the line and increasing rail services had been successful.

Now, consultants Stantec are preparing a case to determine the feasibility, costs and benefits of reinstating the service and want to hear your views.

Leader of RVBC Coun. Stephen Atkinson

There is currently a "connectivity gap" in passenger rail services between Clitheroe and Hellifield.

And understanding the transport, social and economic benefits that may arise from closing the gap, such as extending services beyond Hellifield to Settle and Carlisle in the north or Skipton in the east, is key to making the case.

The borough council's leader Coun. Stephen Atkinson said: “The reopening of the Clitheroe to Hellifield line to passengers would bring a mammoth boost to the borough and beyond worth tens of millions of pounds to the local economy.

“Our consultants are considering all possible improvements, including increased services between Manchester and Clitheroe, new services between Preston and Hellifield, freight options and potentially extending any new services beyond Hellifield, either north to Settle and Carlisle, or east to Skipton.

Plans to open the historic line are on track

“With the main infrastructure already in place, the project could be completed before the next General Election, and we are looking forward to working with the community over the coming years to hopefully bring it to fruition.”

The Restoring Your Railways Ideas Fund aims to reconnect towns, ease congestion, regenerate economies and improve accessibility to jobs, homes and education.

The fund generated a high level of interest and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said Ribble Valley Borough Council’s bid was one of only 10 from across the UK to get the green light.

The consultation runs until Wednesday, March 10th, and has already attracted a significant response. To take part go to ribblevalley.gov.uk, or if you would prefer a paper copy phone Fiona Duncan at Stantec on 0131 297 7019.