Rossendale Free Press

Home working could be a fatal blow to rail plans

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ACCORDING to Rossendale Council, the campaign to bring regular train services to the borough is in its strongest position ever.

Given the East Lancashire Railway, which currently runs the tracks for its steam and heritage services, seems utterly opposed to the idea of adding regular commuter services to the line, it’s hard to understand where Rossendale Council is coming from.

To be fair, the council ends the year with the Government at least supporting investigat­ive work to see how a re-opening could work, which is indeed progress.

But in terms of the journey to getting a fully-functionin­g commuter service linking Rawtenstal­l to Bury, there’s still an awfully long way to go.

Convincing the government, and rail operators, that a railway service could ever even cover its costs will be a challenge.

Of course, there are many rail services which don’t, but they have the benefit of having never been scrapped.

And we still don’t know what the longterm impact of Covid on working patterns will be either.

It may well be that demand to commute between Rawtenstal­l, Bury and Manchester city centre never returns to what it once was as more and more people elect to work from home if they can.

That would be good news for our local town centres, but potentiall­y fatal for hopes of getting a railway service running between Rawtenstal­l and Bury again.

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