Reopening the rail line between Colne and Skipton will be financially viable, campaigners and planners have been told.

“More than 430,000 people would be expected to use the new line annually and the benefits of the new route could be 6.5 times the total costs,” campaigner Andy Shackleton disclosed to the Lancashire Telegraph.

“Long distance, inter-regional services and freight could increase that figure still further.”

Consultants ARUP were appointed to examine the social and economic case for reinstating the line by the Skipton-East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership which wants the line reopened.

The findings from the feasibility study will be revealed at SELRAP’s AGM next week.

Mr Shackleton, SELRAP liaison officer, said: “The report reveals that the line between Colne and Skipton was not listed for closure by Beeching.

“It also shows that figures within the 1963 Beeching report show that, at the time, the route between Burnley and Earby via Colne was carrying between 5,000 and 10,000 passengers per week and between Earby and Skipton it was carrying between 10,000 and 50,000 passengers per week.

“It points out that a report published by the Ministry of Transport British Railways Board in 1967 cited the Burnley to Skipton (and Leeds) route as part of the network selected for further development.

“But the 12-mile section between Skipton and Colne failed to gain subsidy under Barbara Castle’s Transport Act of 1968, and was closed in 1970.

“On a more positive note, ARUP concludes that a station could be established at Earby, with Barnoldswick served by a new parkway station near Kelbrook.

SELRAP's AGM is on Monday 10 March 2014 at St Bartholomew’s Church, Albert Road, Colne BB8 0AE. from 19.00.

Lancashire Telegraph report