SELRAP, the action group campaigning to reinstate just 12 miles of rail track between Colne and Skipton, are building up to a major last push to get the project over the line. A new rail corridor will be transformational - forming the North's freight trans-Pennine link, supporting the levelling-up of the Northern economy.
A campaign video has been produced, to illustrate how such a relatively small infrastructure project would be transformational not just for passengers, but creating a highly important freight rail corridor coast to coast, benefitting the new proposed freeports as well as existing businesses.
The reinstatement of the track will connect the Airedale line, a modern and fast train service running from Leeds, into East Lancashire. Two trains will be scheduled per hour, with a new station built at Earby and a replacement station built in Colne. This will bring the Colne-Leeds journey time down to just 50 minutes, with significant benefits for students, commuting, leisure and tourism opportunities in East Lancs and the Yorkshire Dales.
Freight is another significant benefit the project will bring to the region. Additional freight trains on this route will make this a strategic freight rail corridor from coast to coast, connecting Hull with Liverpool and routes inbetween. This will significantly reduce congestion pressure on the M62, and will have a great benefit on the environment. This project will also open up other future projects, such as the building of a strategically placed freight terminal at Huncoat.
High profile supporters have lent their voice to the campaign, including the Chamber of Commerce, Skipton Building Society, Drax Power Station, Leeds City Council, and MPs along the route corridor. The campaign has also been mentioned in Parliament, most noticeably this week by MP for Hyndburn and Haslingden, Sara Britcliffe.
Peter Bryson, Chairman of SELRAP, said: "We've had so much support from leading figures already on our project, and 2021 is the year we will get this over the line and secure the funding. We hope people will understand more now about why this project is so important for the whole of the North, and will really get behind us and show support!"