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SELRAP bid to stop Colne/Skipton rail drive hitting poll buffers

Lancashire Telegraph, Bill Jacobs, 27th June 2024

The campaign group seeking to reopen a key rail link between East Lancashire and Yorkshire says most of the general election candidates along the route are on board.

Skipton and East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership (SELRAP) wants the 12-mile long line from Colne to Skipton back up and running.

It closed in 1970.

The campaign wants to reopen the link and provide fast passenger trains between Pendle, Burnley, Hyndburn and Leeds and new northern freight routes.

Before the election was called SELRAP's campaign was backed by former Conservative MPs Philip Davies ( Shipley), Robbie Moore (Keighley and Ilkley), Julian Smith (Skipton and Ripon), Andrew Stephenson (Pendle), Anthony Higginbotham (Burnley) and Sara Britcliffe (Hyndburn ).

The campaign has 500 members and enjoys wide support from politicians and key businesses and says the project will give several very large communities transformational transport links by providing fast links to the northern powerhouse cities of Leeds and Bradford for education and employment opportunities.

Its proposed new route would serve Accrington, Burnley and Pendle with a combined population of over quarter of a million people cutting journey times into Leeds and Bradford down to little over an hour.

The Department for Transport and Network Rail have already developed a prospective business case for the Skipton to Colne project at a cost £300million.

SELRAP’s chair Peter Bryson said: "The Skipton to Colne rail project runs through key “Red Wall” constituencies.

"Since the election was announced, SELRAP has contacted all the prospective candidates. We have now received support from almost all candidates.

“All of the former Members of Parliament along the route all fully supported this vital project. All wanted it delivered quickly.

"Therefore, we will be urging all our new MPs to impress on the incoming government the importance of rapidly mobilising this key project”.

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