RAIL campaigners seeking to unite East Lancashire and North Yorkshire have secured talks with a government minister.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson has brokered discussions between SELRAP (Skipton-East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership) and rail minister Simon Burns next month.

Council officials from Lancashire and North Yorkshire will also be involved in the House of Commons meeting.

Mr Stephenson has also drafted an Early Day Motion in Parliament, supporting SELRAP’s aim of reopening the closed line beyond Colne, which has been signed by 34 MPs.

Supporters have been urged to take heart from recent developments which have seen work progressing on the planned reinstatement of the Todmorden Curve.

This will see more services using Burnley Manchester Road station and should have knock-on benefits for Colne, delegates at the latest SELRAP conference in Skipton were told.

The conference had been called to decide on the future direction to be taken by the lobbying group, which has the backing of 195 MPs, 101 peers, two-thirds of UK MEPs and 505 district or county councils.

MEP Brian Simpson, who chaired the event, said SELRAP was at a ‘crossroads’ and must seek out ways in which members could progress their aims.