Colne to Skipton railway plans move ‘significant’ step closer

Chris Grayling in Colne
Credit: Pendle Today

The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, was in Colne today to update local politicians on the feasibility of re-opening the Skipton to Colne railway line.

He also updated locals on the possibility of a bypass for the Lancashire town.

The Colne to Skipton line has been a dream for some locals for many years, not only for passenger use but also the use of freight trains on this Trans-Pennine line.

Colne to Skipton last saw a train in 1970 and would create a faster route for new services from East Lancashire to Skipton and Leeds.

Local radio, 2BR, has said that “Chris Grayling says plans to have it open by 2025 have moved a significant step closer”.

What did the officials say?

Speaking to the Leader Times, Mr Grayling said that he was hopeful work could be done and that there was a strong case for a bypass in Colne.

“Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson and I are looking at the local demand for a bypass that will benefit residents and businesses by breaking the congestion currently experienced in this area.

“There has been a lot of talk about rail improvements but roads are important too. The Government is putting a lot of extra money into building bypasses, and there is a strong case for one in Colne.”

“I’m personally keen to see the reopening of the Colne to Skipton line. That’s why I thought it was important I come to Colne today to meet local representatives and affirm my commitment to finally establish the feasibility of the route. I know Andrew Stephenson has been working very hard on this scheme for years and I will do what I can to support him.”

Pendle Borough Council leader, Coun. Paul White, said:

“Obviously it’s great news that the Skipton to Colne line can technically be re-opened. I believe it will benefit business in the area because it will be a strategic route for freight across the North.

“It will also have a very positive impact on passengers in this area. Regards the bypass, I am very clear that for the sake of Pendle’s economic development something has to happen. A huge amount of manufacturing is based in West Craven, and this would help to create better access to the motorway network.

“It is great to have the Secretary of State back in Colne. I’m pleased he is moving the study into reopening of the rail line to the next stage. I also took the opportunity to lobby the Secretary of State on the case for a Colne bypass and I will continue to ensure Pendle Council does all it can to make the case for a bypass.”

Vice chairman of Colne Town Council Ash Sutcliffe said:

“Colne Town Council is currently developing its own Neighbourhood Plan and improved transport links are a key part of our plan. The reopening of the rail line and a bypass would be hugely beneficial to Colne business and residents alike.”

Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Lancashire County Coun. Michael Green commented:

“There is a real economic benefit to the whole of East Lancashire if we can reopen the line and find a suitable route for a possible Colne and village bypass. It is important we continue to build a case for both with equal vigour. “In order to grow the economy across the North of England, it is important to have improved road and rail links, east to west, which is what we are constantly promoting.”

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Michael Holden avatar
I have had an interest in Railways for as long as I can remember. I am a member of a number of heritage railways and actively volunteer at 2 of them. I enjoy all types of railways, real life, model and simulations. I started RailAdvent in 2014 and am the main editor of the site.
  • I love this so much , it’s great to be kept abreast of what’s happening in Great Britain’s dynamic & ever improving rail industry

  • I’m really happy for my home town to be getting the line reopened and considering i live in Manchester now i think the line will be great for tourism and freight as well my dad always said it should of never closed. It will be the best thing for Colne and it economy.

  • Finally. About time that Chris Grayling should reopen the Colne-Skipton Line that was closed in the 1960s because of Dr Beeching closed most of the railway lines in the UK.

  • At last some good news about rail in the North of England after such a horrid 18 months, now Mr Grayling needs to band heads together to sort the Northern guard dispute.
    The other line that should never have shut is the Woodhead, the traffic on the road over Woodhead is horrendous.

  • About time too. ,in my opinion we need to move forward ,not backwards .The sooner ,the better ,the saga has been going on far too long .

  • Sorry Andrew, but I beg to differ the Colne- Skipton line was closed as a result of Barbara Castle when she was Secretary of State for Transport, not sure whether it was on Beechings list of closures or not. There were more closures under Wilson’s Administration then there were under MacMillan’s, and perhaps that is the ultimate betrayal. The level of stupidity of politicians never fails to surprise me, the fact that we as an electorate continue to vote for these morons staggers belief.

  • And what do the good folk of Foulridge, Kelbrook, Sough, Earby, Thornton and Elslack think to Freight Trains passing through every 30 minutes? These trains will be carrying Canadian Wood Chip Fuel between Liverpool Docks and Drax Power Station and are the main reason for the Government giving this £500 million project the green light?