REOPENING the railway line between Colne and Skipton would be financially viable, a new report claims.
Consultants ARUP were appointed to look at the social and economic case for reinstating the line by campaigners from SELRAP (Skipton-East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership), who are hoping to restore the line.
The findings from the feasibility study will be revealed at the group's annual meeting next week.
Andy Shackleton, liaison officer at SELRAP, said: “The report reveals that the line between Colne and Skipton was not listed for closure by Beeching.
“It also shows that figures within the 1963 report show that, at the time, the route between Burnley and Earby via Colne was carrying between 5,000 and 10,000 passengers per week and that between Earby and Skipton it was carrying between 10,000 and 50,000 passengers per week.
“It points out that a report published by the Ministry of Transport British Railways Board in 1967 cited the Burnley to Skipton (and Leeds) route as part of the network selected for further development.
“Notwithstanding, the eleven and a quarter mile section between Skipton and Colne failed to gain subsidy under Barbara Castle’s Transport Act of 1968, and was closed in 1970.
“On a more positive note, ARUP concludes that a station could be established at Earby, with Barnoldswick served by a new ‘Parkway’ station near Kelbrook.
“More than 430,000 people would be expected to use the new line annually and the benefits of the new route could be 6.5 times the total costs.
“Long distance, inter-regional services and freight could increase that figure still further.”
SELRAP’s AGM is on Monday at St Bartholomew’s Church, Albert Road, Colne, at 7pm. All are welcome to attend.