Colne to Skipton railway line: Campaign group steps up call for reopening of railway line
Her talk will focus on the importance of rail connections for businesses, jobs, economic and social regeneration.
At a previous meeting in Colne this spring, the group said a reopened Colne-Skipton railway line with fast trains to Leeds could boost east Lancashire significantly, for jobs, house prices, education and leisure.
They said the Lancashire-Yorkshire route goes through some of the most deprived wards in England. These include parts of Pendle, Burnley and Hyndburn, and also Bradford. The current rail line from Preston to Colne becomes just a restricted single track towards Colne, where it terminates.
In contrast, the Skipton and Aire Valley district just 12 miles away is more buoyant and benefits from extensive commuter train services to Leeds and Bradford,
Ms Barker was recognised in the late Queen’s Honours list of 2022 for her services to business and the community in east Lancashire.
She has worked for small and large companies in sectors including manufacturing, engineering and pharmaceuticals. She has been at East Lancashire Chamber since 2017 and was previously in Wigan. She is originally from Ilkley, West Yorkshire.
SELRAP’s targets include getting two trains per hour serving east Lancashire stations including a new station at Earby near Barnoldswick. Campaigners also want a one-hourly train service travelling further west to Burnley onwards, where other railway lines and train services connect.
Earlier this year, it unveiled a £298m budget for the proposed new line, including £80million earmarked for any risks. They said it was a modest budget compared to massive government schemes.
The next SELRAP meeting will be at the Crown Hotel, Colne, on Monday, September, 11, at 7pm. Group member Jane Wood, from Barnoldswick, said: “We would like to open the meeting to non-members who are interested in hearing more about our campaign. Anyone wishing to attend as a guest is asked to contact us through our website at www.selrap.org.uk.”
And chairman Peter Bryson said this week: “Transport for the North plans to spend £29 billion on northern rail improvements over the next 25 years, but not a penny is coming to east Lancashire.”
He claimed the plan clashed with comments by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in Accrington earlier this year on levelling-up.
SELRAP is supported by businesses including electricity generator Drax, Skipton Building Society and Peel Ports, which owns various ports including Heysham and Liverpool.