RAIL campaigners have missed out on an ambitious £40million bid to restore direct trains from East Lancashire to North Yorkshire.

But officials from SELRAP - Skipton East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership - say they have taken heart from the success of moves to restore the Todmorden Curve section near Burnley.

The reinstatement of 500 yards of track, allowing faster train journeys from Burnley to Manchester, was awarded nearly £9million by the Regional Growth Fund.

Yet SELRAP’s proposals, costing £40million, despite being discussed by ministers, failed to make the cut, under the same funding round.

Jane Wood, campaign spokesman, said: “Our campaign to re-instate the missing link between Skipton and Colne will continue to move forward with some innovative meetings planned with government ministers, county councillors and the rail industry.

“The valuable information collected for the bid will be of value in this work.”

Their supporters have welcomed the Tod Curve announcement, which will help to regenerate Burnley’s Weavers Triangle.

Campaigners believe their efforts would similarly open up East Lancashire to economic opportunities in Skipton, the Aire Valley and West Yorkshire.

The rail line between Colne and Skipton closed in February 1970 and prompted the closure of Earby and Thornton-in-Craven stations.

Work on the Todmorden Curve could also benefit a separate campaign, by villagers in Cornholme and Portsmouth, near the Burnley-Calderdale border, to provide a new station on the same line.

The halt at Cornholme closed in September 1938 and the Portsmouth station only lasted until July 1958.

The station would also be convenient for passengers in nearby Cliviger and Worsthorne.