NORTHERN Powerhouse minister Jake Berry has hinted the Colne to Skipton rail link reopen using cash from a new £500million fund announced yesterday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed the cash to revive routes shut on the the 1960s recommendations of Dr Richard Beeching.

He pledged that two lines in West Lancashire would be among the first to benefit.

Colne to Skipton was one of four East Lancashire lines which closed in the aftermath of the Beeching review. The others were Accrington to Ramsbottom, Blackburn to Chorley and Rawtenstall to Bacup and Bury.

Mr Berry said: "A majority Conservative government will reverse many of the deeply unpopular Beeching rail cuts.

"Lancashire Telegraph readers will know thousands of train stations and miles of track were closed. East Lancashire saw four routes lost with a huge impact on the local community.

"Many towns and residents were left feeling disconnected and left behind, with the impact still felt today. Papering over the cracks is not enough - serious action is needed. A Conservative government will establish a £500 million Beeching Reversal Fund to reconnect towns and villages.The Prime Minister has committed to re-open the Thornton-Cleveleys to Fleetwood and Skelmersdale lines. We will work with local communities to see what other lines could be brought back."

Pendle Liberal Democrat candidate Cllr Gordon Lishman said: "These are fine word from Mr Berry but they are scarcely a firm commitment to reopening the Colne to Skipton rail link."

He added: "Reviving this trans-Pennine line is vital not just to Pendle but to East Lancashire as a whole."