THE campaign to extend the East Lancashire railway line across the Pennines from Colne to Skipton has taken another step forward at Westminster.

A meeting at the House of Commons hosted by Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson and his Labour counterpart for Keighley John Grogan convened senior officials from the Department of Transport (DfT), Transport for the North (TfN), Network Rail and commercial companies with an interest in East-West rail links.

It took place against the background of a feasibility study into reopening the closed line as part of a £100million new fast freight route from Liverpool to the East Yorkshire ports of Hull and Immingham announced by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling at Colne railway station in February.

Last week’s summit was chaired by Peter Bryson, chair of SELRAP – the Skipton East Lancashire Rail Partnership.

Afterwards senior planning manager at the DfT Colin Poole told the campaign group: “I think the meeting went well.”

Mr Stephenson, a SELRAP patron, said :“The reopening of this railway line is something I have been pushing for ever since being first elected in 2010 and would be a real boost to our area.

“This was a really positive meeting where broad support for the re-opening was expressed. All those looking into the challenges of re-opening said so far no major stumbling blocks have been identified.”

Andy Shackleton. SELRAP communications officer who attended the meeting, said: “I think real progress was made.”

Blackburn with Darwen Council regeneration boss Cllr Phil Riley, a TfN board member, said: “I think a head of steam is growing behind reopening the Colne to Skipton line which would benefit our borough.”

Pendle Liberal Democrat peer Lord Tony Greaves said: “It all depends on the outcome of the feasibility study.”