'Don't cancel Skipton to Colne rail link plans' Pendle politicians urge new Government

The buffers at Colne station
The buffers at Colne station

Two Pendle politicians in the Houses of Parliament have wasted no time in reminding new Transport Secretary Grant Shapps of the importance of reinstating a rail link between East Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Conservative Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson and Liberal Democrat Lord Tony Greaves have each said they will press the new Government to continue with the plans.

Lord Greaves has tabled a parliamentary question in the House of Lords asking the new Government for a commitment to continue the feasibility work on the proposal for a new east-west freight railway route across the Pennines, taking in the missing link between Colne and Skipton – which would allow the reinstatement of a passenger service between East Lancashire, Skipton, Leeds and Bradford.

And Mr Stephenson, a close ally of new Prime Minister Boris Johnson, told Leader Times Newspapers that he has spoken to Mr Shapps and said he was "encouraged" by his response.

Mr Stephenson said: "Grant has visited Pendle before and knows the area well from his time as Housing Minister when he supported our Portas Pilot. I have spoken to Grant about the importance of reinstating the Skipton to Colne line and I am encouraged by his response.

"I am also delighted with our new Prime Minister's focus on infrastructure, as good transport links such as those we are fighting are vital to our local economy."

Lord Greaves said he was hoping to get an answer to his question some time during the summer recess which started yesterday.

He said: “We all know that the former Transport Secretary Chris Grayling was a supporter of this scheme. It is a worry that the new Secretary of State Grant Shapps may never have heard of it. I want to focus his attention onto it before he loses his way in the morass of HS2, HS3, Crossrail, Crossrail 2, new runways, autonomous vehicles, and everything else.”