Reopening the line to Skipton, will it ever happen?


Reopening the line to Skipton

Reopening of the missing link from Colne to Skipton has long been proposed. However, the recent paring back of rail investment in the north has caused consternation among Pendle councillors.

Coun Whipp said: “Council [all councillors] notes the watering down of infrastructure plans for the north of England with the publication of the Integrated Rail Plan and the consequent negative impacts for residents in Pendle and the wider region.”

The estimated cost for the line was £100m, peanuts compared to HS2. So what would be the benefits?

The benefits of reopening the Skipton line

There are only 12 miles of track missing from Colne to Skipton. Re-opening it would connect Hyndburn to the fast and electrified Airedale line.

SELRAP, the Skipton and East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership, suggests that the line would become a major trans Pennine freight route. Moreover, this ties in with the projected rail terminal at Huncoat.

A new station would be opened at Earby and the station at Colne rebuilt. Notably, two trains an hour would run through Accrington. Consequently, the time to Leeds would be reduced to 50 mins from the current 1 hr 10 mins.

Reopening the line to Skipton would also lead to better connections with the Yorkshire Dales, via the Settle and Carlisle line.

Freight traffic from Liverpool to Hull, could use the line, to relieve pressure on the M62. Sara Britcliffe, MP for Hyndburn and Haslingden is a supporter of the scheme..

The proposal document can be read here.


History of the line

The line from Accrington to Colne opened in 1849 and was closed by 1970. Moreover, the line from Rose Grove to Colne was singled at the same time.

The East Lancashire Railway built the route, later being absorbed into the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. Further, There were three viaducts between Burnley and Skipton. For example, Burnley had a large 15 span viaduct crossing the Calder. Marsden viaduct had five spans while Colne Viaduct has six.

BR Brush Type 4 Co-Co class 47/0 diesel-electric loco no 47124 of Cardiff Canton TMD crosses Burnley Viaduct departing from Burnley Central station with the 10 coach 17:40 (Add) to Newcastle Footex (1Z32). Saturday 19/03/1983

Finally, there was an end on Junction with the Midland Railway at Colne. There is an hourly service from Accrington to Colne. Additionally there are bus connections over Pendle Hill, to be had, at Nelson Interchange.

Burnley in the steam age.

Rebuilding the line would make it a lot easier to get into Yorkshire for Hyndburn folk.

1 thought on “Reopening the line to Skipton, will it ever happen?

  1. I was fortunate to have travelled on the line prior to its closure enroute to relatives in Blackburn. I t makes economic sense to reopen this line as well as the important connectivity it would afford. Lets hope we can reopen as many lines as possible before we are swallowed up by roads and motorways and the dreaded motor vehicle…….

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