When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Rail campaigners call for more trains in Blackburn to Hellifield route
3:00pm Saturday 8th September 2012 in News
RAIL campaigners want to open up East Lancashire to Yorkshire and Scotland by promoting extra trains along a rarely-used route.
Friends of the Blackburn to Hellifield Line (FOBHL) are making the call 50 years to the day that the last regular passenger service between the two locations ceased.
The final train between Blackburn and the North Yorkshire station departed in early September 1962, and now only a single train operates every Sunday.
Supporters of the Friends of Settle to Carlisle Line have also undertaken a major study this year, outlining the benefits of opening a through route between Manchester and Carlisle, via Darwen, Blackburn and Ribble Valley stations.
Peter Brass, of FOBHL and a Clitheroe newsagent, said that the link could be reinstated with minimal outlay for the rail industry.
“The only thing that you would need is a signal on the platform at Hellifield for when the trains arrive from Clitheroe,” he said.
Around half a dozen trains could be run each day, he believes, which if timed correctly could connect with onwards services to Carlisle.
Such a move echoes the efforts of the Skipton East Lancashire Rail Partnership, which aims to reconnect the abandoned line between Colne and North Yorkshire.
And if it is successful it would mirror the reinstatement of the Todmorden Curve, opening up extra services to West Yorkshire and Manchester for East Lancs passengers.
Paul Levet, of FOSCL, added: “Manchester, Bolton, Blackburn and Clitheroe only have connections to the Yorkshire Dales on Sundays during the summer season. A yearly round service would improve this situation.”
And because the track, used by the Sunday service, freight trains and charter operators, is still in place, FOSCL is arguing that it would not require any expensive overhauls.
Mr Levet added: “Clitheroe travellers to Scotland have to change at Blackburn and Preston when they could enjoy a more direct service via the scenic Settle and Carlisle line.
“And travel to Skipton and Leeds from Clitheroe could also be improved by connecting Clitheroe to Hellifield.”The Hellifield line, which also calls from Blackburn, at Ramsgreave and Wilpshire, Langho and Whalley, before Clitheroe, was originally part of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway.
Comments are closed on this article.