PLEAS have been made to include Accrington in a proposed train service in a bid to boost jobs and bring economic benefits to Hyndburn.

Hyndburn Council bosses have written to the Department for Transport and Transport Minister Chris Grayling over the proposed revived Skipton to Colne line.

Services between Accrington and Leeds currently run direct every hour on the Calderdale line and take about an hour and 20 minutes.

But council leader Cllr Miles Parkinson said additional services on a reopened Skipton to Colne line would open up more opportunities for people living in Hyndburn to work in Manchester or Leeds.

He said it would tie in with the council’s garden village plan for Huncoat, which could see as many as 2,000 new homes built in the borough.

And Cllr Parkinson added it was vital to have the infrastructure to attract people to live in the borough, which would also mean more people spending their disposable income in Hyndburn.

Mike Walker, the council’s head of corporate support, said indications from Skipton East Lancashire Rail Partnership (SELRAP) suggest that the DfT and Network Rail are both in favour of the move and that a letter from the council could help.

The line closed in February 1970 and the track lifted.

The DfT report about the line is to be presented to ministers this month and so a decision to write a letter of support was passed as an urgent action with the support of council leader Cllr Miles Parkinson, deputy leader Cllr Paul Cox, and their Tory counterparts Cllrs Tony Dobson and Terry Hurn.

Cllr Parkinson said giving Accrington access to the route would help Hyndburn residents access jobs in Leeds and other places on the service.

He added: “Having supported SELRAP for a number of years, the council is unanimous in its view that the benefits from this project could be further enhanced by extending the service beyond Burnley Rose Grove, as is currently planned, and continuing it through to Accrington.

“The case for this extension is compelling.

“By extending the service it opens up the benefits of this new route to 80,000 residents of Hyndburn.

“We understand that the extension of the service to Accrington would be a relatively modest amendment to the proposed project but would be one that would provide a transformative improvement to the transport links from Accrington to West Yorkshire and beyond.

“Hyndburn Council strongly urges the Department for Transport to introduce the passenger service from Leeds into East Lancashire and to ensure the service extends through to Accrington.”

In September, the campaign to reopen the line took 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, Transport for the North, 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 Chris Grayling at Colne railway station in February.