CAMPAIGN group SELRAP has warmly welcomed Transport secretary Chris Grayling's indication that re-opening the Colne to Skipton rail link has moved a significant step closer.

On Friday the Cabinet minister confirmed the £400million project to extend the East Lancashire Line across the Pennines has been found 'technically possible' by an initial study.

On a visit to Colne railway station Mr Grayling also announced a second stage investigation into whether the demand for freight traffic on the route would make it commercially feasible.

Speaking exclusively to the Lancashire Telegraph, he made clear his personal commitment to its reopening, provided the business case is made.

He indicated that if that case showed the spending was justified work could start on relaying the track by 2025.

Since the 12-mile line was closed in 1970 there has been a growing campaign to re-instate it spearhead by SELRAP - The Skipton East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership.

Its media officer Jane Wood said: "SELRAP welcomes this announcement by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling that the re-opening of the Skipton to Colne rail link is on 'amber'.

"We are pleased to hear that a second stage investigation of the route will take place.

"This campaign group looks forward to the project getting the 'green light' as it would bring significant social and economic benefit to the area."