United front in fight for rail link

‘Line is fea­si­ble and cost ef­fec­tive’- re­port 9,000 could use re­in­stated train track MP: Manch­ester mayor’s back­ing now key

Rossendale Free Press - - Front Page - FREE PRESS RE­PORTER freep­ress­[email protected]­media.co.uk

ACOMMUTER rail link be­tween Rossendale and Manch­ester could be on track after a study found the route was ‘ fea­si­ble and cost ef­fec­tive’.

Rossendale coun­cil leader Coun Alyson Barnes and of­fi­cers, along with MPs and busi­ness lead­ers from across the rail route, met with North­ern Pow­er­house Min­is­ter Jake Berry in Lon­don to up­date him on the find­ings of the early strate­gic case for rail in­vest­ment.

They also lob­bied Trans­port for the North ( TfN) to get the link in­cluded in its forth­com­ing In­vest­ment Pro­gramme as a ‘high pri­or­ity’.

Rossendale is the only bor­ough in Lan­cashire with­out a na­tional rail link and strug­gles with se­vere con­ges­tion on the A56 and M66 at peak times.

The re­port found that 14,000 Rossendale res­i­dents travel daily to work, with 9,000 go­ing into the Greater Manch­ester area.

Five op­tions were ex­am­ined and eval­u­ated, but Coun Barnes stressed she wanted to see a com­muter route work­ing in con­junc­tion with the ex­ist­ing her­itage East Lan­cashire Rail­way.

The re­port was com­mis­sioned by Rossendale Coun­cil in part­ner­ship with Lan­cashire County Coun­cil and was car­ried out by the Cen­tre for Eco­nomics and Busi­ness Re­search. It de­scribes a ‘promis­ing op­tion’ as a peak pe­riod shut­tle ser­vice be­tween Rawten­stall and Bury us­ing the East Lan­cashire Rail­way, and a new heavy rail link from a dis­used plat­form at Bury Bolton Street Sta­tion to Castle­ton. Pas­sen­gers would then have ac­cess to Manch­ester, Rochdale and West York­shire.

The re­port con­cludes: “Over­all, we be­lieve this work in­di­cates that fea­si­ble op­tions ex­ist for in­vest­ment which could de­liver sig­nif­i­cant eco- nomic ben­e­fits, re­duce con­ges­tion, and meet en­vi­ron­men­tal tar­gets in a way which will not harm the valu­able op­er­a­tions of the East Lan­cashire Rail­way, and may even be to their ben­e­fit.”

Coun Barnes said: “The East Lan­cashire Rail­way is an in­cred­i­ble suc­cess story, bring­ing vis­i­tors and tourism into the Rossendale econ­omy and we do not want to lose it.

“How­ever, the cur­rent com­muter net­work be­tween Rossendale and Manch­ester is not.

“At peak pe­ri­ods both car driv­ers and bus pas­sen­gers find them­selves in nose to tail traf­fic on the A56, M66 and in the city cen­tre, and there is no po­ten­tial to ease that sit­u­a­tion.

“We want to see the rail link treated as a high pri­or­ity scheme in the forth­com­ing TfN In­vest­ment Pro­gramme 2020- 50.”

The orig­i­nal Rawten­stall rail­way sta­tion closed in 1972 and the East Lan­cashire Rail­way ex­tended its her­itage line from Bury to Rawten­stall when it opened a new sta­tion in 1991.

A del­e­ga­tion vis­ited Par­lia­ment to win sup­port

●● Bosses at West­min­ster Bridge fight­ing for a rail link

One of the op­tions for a pro­posed Rossendale rail link

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.