LETTER: Majority would vote against Colne to Skipton rail line

Oh no! Have I, once again, dared to disagree with Selrap regarding the reinstatement of the Colne to Skipton railway line, as they seem fit to remind me I have only been granted a temporary annual lease for my garden extension (which I have had for 25 years out of the 35 years I’ve lived here) as it is a designated transport corridor?

Of course, I am aware of this, but as the line has been closed since February, 1970, and they (Selrap) feel they have a right to campaign to re-open the line, I feel I have a valid interest in opposing the scheme.

As advised by Jane Wood last week, I viewed Selrap’s website. Although very impressive, and showing support from MPs, businesses etc., from around the country, I would guess the majority of the population of the North-West will not support the campaign mainly due to the cost of the project, at present approximately £90m. If the “link” is so important, why don’t the list of impressive supporters fund the reinstatement? Perhaps they know there would be no profit in the investment!

I also noticed some photos had been put on the site to highlight the “Reclaim Our Railway” hikes held on April 9th. What a pity this facility will go if the railway is reinstated. However, there didn’t seem to be any photos from the Thornton to Foulridge section at the time I viewed. Perhaps it’s because they didn’t want to show the problems on that part.

Jane Wood says the design of the rail line would not create traffic problems in Earby. How so? Is it going to be built on a flyover? Or perhaps there is going to be a new line which bypasses Earby altogether?

However, leaving facetiousness and personal interests to one side, let’s look at some of those problems affecting the reinstatement.

The cost outweighs the benefits. £90m. at the last estimate some four years ago - how much now?

There is no guaranteed return on investment. It didn’t pay in the past, so would it pay now?

Extra trains to Leeds would mean further closure of the level crossing at Cross Hills for perhaps another 15 minutes, thus closing the crossing permanently.

The three barriers required in Earby would cause traffic hold ups.

An electrified line would be more of a health and safety risk.

There are already links, such as Leeds and Bradford to Burnley, Bradford and Preston via Copy Pit and the Ribble Valley Line. Upgrade these.

If the Colne to Preston line needs upgrading to a double line with electrification, why not use some of the estimated £90m. to do this first. Surely it’s more prudent to spend money improving what’s already there.

The loss of a recreational facility. Walkers, horse riders, dog walkers, cyclists and children all use the line daily. Where would they go?

I’m sure many people could suggest other reasons for not re-opening the line, or perhaps for reinstating it, but at this moment in time Selrap has not come up with anything that convinces me it would be the best thing for the area.

However, should Lancashire County Council decide to revoke the garden extension leases and develop the line, so be it. But it would be their decision, not the decision of a few volunteer campaigners who appear to have chosen to carry out the wishes of the majority without consulting them.

I believe, if asked, the majority would vote against the reinstatement of the line. In fact, there are some who are sure it never will be reinstated.