'Positive and constructive' meeting on campaign to reopen Colne to Skipton railway line

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson hosted the meeting in Westminster yesterday
Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson hosted the meeting in Westminster yesterday

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson has praised a "positive and constructive meeting" he hosted this week in Parliament on the campaign to reopen the Colne to Skipton railway line.

With presentations from the Skipton East Lancs Rail Action Partnership (SELRAP) campaign group and officials from the Department of Transport, the meeting allowed a number of new MPs from across the north to hear about the proposal to reopen the line and ask questions.

New MPs for Burnley, Hyndburn, South Ribble and Bury South attended alongside representatives from major regional businesses such as Skipton Building Society and local authorities including Lancashire County Council.

Northern Powerhouse Minister and MP for Rossendale and Darwen, Jake Berry, also attended speaking positively about the campaign.

Mr Stephenson said: “Reopening the Colne-Skipton line would be a major boost to Pendle’s local economy and radically improve our transport links.

“It would also have positive benefits across East Lancashire and the wider northern region, by reinstating a key east to west link across the Pennines. It’s also something that can be delivered relatively quickly – it’s ‘oven-ready’ as the Prime Minister likes to say.

“The meeting was very constructive with plenty of support from all those who attended and I hope the campaign will continue to make progress.”

The news comes after it emerged that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had launched a government feasibility study to look at the possibility of reopening historic railway lines closed in the 1960s after the Beeching report.

However, the £500m. pledged has been described as "meaningless" by Labour who stated that it would only help to reopen just 25 miles of railway.

The BBC reported yesterday that Michael Byng, a railway construction consultant, believes reopening the Colne to Skipton line would cost around £368m. on its own.