RAIL campaign group SELRAP is appealing for donations to help fund a crucial study that could lead to the Colne to Skipton line being reopened.

The group is pushing ahead with a GRIP 3 study, which is Network Rail’s system for assessing the viability and feasibility of rail projects.

But to complete the study, SELRAP (Skipton-East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership) will need further donations to fund the cost, which is likely to be in the tens of thousands of pounds. Jane Wood, SELRAP’s spokeswoman, said: “Securing a GRIP 3 study will need the co-ordinated input of professional individuals, bodies and organ- isations.

“Accordingly, Lancashire County Council has begun the process of contacting appropriate partners to begin to establish the formation of a project development group to oversee the Skipton-Colne project.

“Following broad based discussion, the county is to formally invite SELRAP to act in a consultative and advisory capacity to the group which, when finally formatted, will work to reopen the Skipton-Colne line as recommended by the Jonathan Roberts Consultants report in 2010.

“There was a magnificent response from loyal SELRAP members and others for funding to undertake the stage one and two studies.” Engineering consultants ARUP conducted a feasibility study into the reopening of the line for SELRAP, which suggested the financial benefit of reopening would be six-and-a-half times the cost of building it.

It also said there would be 414,000 new passenger journeys along the line, rising to 620,000 within 10 years of the line reopening.