SELRAP (Skipton-East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership) has embraced the findings of an independent investigation into the advisability of making trans-Pennine transport links better with the installation of a rail line system between Colne and Skipton. The report states that such a line “will pay for itself in a few years,” estimating the grand total of revenue to be £43.5m per year.
Paul McMahon, Managing Director of Freight and National Passenger Operators at Network Rail, and Graham Backhouse, Head of Supply Chain and Logistics at Drax Power added that “there will be more ‘economic bang’ from investing in the line than any other road or rail scheme.”
SELRAP already has full sanction of Skipton Building Society; Drax Power, which is the largest supplier of energy in Britain; as well as Arriva Northern Trains. This is as they work with ministers, MPs, Transport for the North, and several Local Authorities to move the plan along.
“The expert report has conclusively shown that building the Skipton to Colne “missing link” will have massive economic and social benefits,” SELRAP said in a written reporting.
Further, said SELRAP, residents of East Lancashire would have improved accessibility to employment in Yorkshire, thereby giving a leg up to current manufacturing and aerospace concerns, which include Rolls Royce in Barnoldswick; opening accessibility as to tourism and education; attracting new businesses; while putting forth another solution beyond M62.
Peter Bryson, SELRAP chairman, said that, “This report is a key milestone towards progressing this very short, but very vital, rail link. [It] clearly shows there will be transformational economic benefits for both Lancashire and Yorkshire.
“With the right political will and funding, SELRAP now believes that fast and modern trains could be running from Burnley and Pendle into Leeds in less than an hour by the early 2020s,” Bryson suggested.
Prepared by real estate experts Cushman Wakefield and Systra, a transport consultant, the report is called “Central trans-Pennine Corridor East West Connectivity: an Economic Study.” It was presented by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership as well as two additional Yorkshire Local Authorities. It highlights SELRAP’s hope to grow the already well heeled Airedale Line services from Leeds and Bradford continuing into Pendle and Burnley as a “missing link.”