MPs campaign to bring back Clitheroe rail link

By Tim Aldred

15 Jan 2024

Clitheroe Hellifield MPs Meeting

Two local politicians have urged the Minister of State for Transport to bring passenger services back to the Clitheroe to Hellifield railway line, in a bid to improve the town's connections.

Members of Parliament for the Ribble Valley and Pendle, Nigel Evans and Andrew Stephenson, along with local Peer Lord David Alton and Ribble Valley Borough Council leader Stephen Atkinson met with the minister last week to make the case.

The line in question connects Blackburn with Hellifield, but passenger services were withdrawn during the 1960s as part of the Beeching railway cuts.

Whilst services between Blackburn and Clitheroe were restarted almost 30 years ago, there remains a connectivity gap between Clitheroe and Hellifield. 

Now the MPs are pushing hard for this line to be brought back into regular service in order to provide greatly improved and sustainable linkages between Greater Manchester, Lancashire, North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire.

Nigel Evans said: “With the reallocation of HS2 funding to other regional transport projects, now is the absolute perfect time to bring this important line back into regular service.

"It would open up a key route for tourists visiting the Ribble Valley and offer thousands of people a more sustainable and direct route to visit Yorkshire for sightseeing, work, school and more.

"This is a clear win win move and a real opportunity for Ribble Valley residents. I am confident Ministers will see the many merits of this plan and I will continue to push for the full expansion of services.”

Andrew Stephenson said: “Passenger services on this line wouldn’t just benefit the Ribble Valley, but would provide a boost to a much wider area. I was encouraged by the discussion we had with the Rail Minister and will continue fighting for these services to be introduced.”

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