Twenty yards of rail track could bring in millions and create jobs

Reconnecting the Embsay and Bolton Abbey heritage railway to the main line at Skipton could create up to 23 jobs, says a report.

It would also generate between 1.9m and 2.9m of employment benefits during the construction and operation of the service and add up to 8.9m of visitor spend into the local economy over a 10-year period, according to the study.

Transport planner JMP has concluded that reinstatement of 20 yards of rail track with associated signalling would pave the way for a financially viable reconnection of the heritage railway to the main line network at Skipton.

The review was commissioned by owner and operator of the steam railway, the Yorkshire Dales Railway Museum Trust, and funded by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority's sustainable development fund.

JMP found each of the scenarios it considered would still cover the operating costs.

The heritage railway operates steam services for more than 100,000 visitors and tourists a year to Bolton Abbey.

The planned development is to achieve through-running of trains to and from Skipton station, providing a cross-platform link to National Rail

services.

This would be via a reinstated 20 yards connection with the Swinden Quarry freight branch line at Embsay and would bring back into use the disused platform at the south of Skipton station.

The link would allow connections with Northern Rail's Airedale Line as well as other rail services to Lancaster and Carlisle, the latter via the Settle & Carlisle Line. It would also improve public transport access to the national park.

JMP says the project could be realised for a capital cost of 2.6m for the preferred option.