Now Burnham backs commuter rail line campaign
A CAMPAIGN Valley rail link has received another boost after Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham signalled support.
A cross-party campaign supported by local MPs, councils and businesses aims to restore commuter rail services from the borough to Manchester and the backing of Greater Manchester’s Mayor is seen as vital.
Mr Burnham has written a letter in response to Rossendale MP Jake Berry, pledging his backing for the campaign.
It comes as the Mayor unveiled plans this week to radically improve the region’s transport infrastructure, including major extensions of the Metrolink tram network and new railway stations.
In his letter, Mr Burnham said: “I fully support the case to strengthen public transport links between Rossendale and Greater Manchester and this will be reflected in the 2040 GM Transport Strategy Delivery Plan.
“With reference to the Rawtenstall-BuryRochdale/Manchester Rail Study, I have asked Transport for Greater Manchester to engage with the work underway, to understand any new evidence coming forward on options to better link Rossendale and Greater Manchester and to keep an open mind in looking at all options, whilst also recognising the value of the East Lancashire Rail heritage asset.”
Last November it was confirmed that plans to restore Rossendale’s rail link are now being considered by Transport for the North (TfN), the body formed by the Government to transform the transport system across the north of England.
Mr Berry said: “Much of the decision making about transport spending priorities has been devolved from central Government to local areas like Greater Manchester, so a positive response from the Mayor is more good news for our cross-party campaign.”
Bury North MP James Frith is also supportive, but adds a note of caution.
Mr Frith said: “I support calls for Transport for the North to carry out a modern feasibility study into the possibility of a rail link connecting Bury and Ramsbottom to Manchester and Rawtenstall. “I will not support any scheme that puts at risk our brilliant heritage and community asset, the East Lancashire Railway. My support is conditional on the necessary protection, enhancement and sustainability of the ELR who I will meet with again to discuss this in detail.”
●» Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham