Rail Travel North of Clitheroe
As many of you are aware on 23rd May Grant Shapps announced that ten bids to the Restoring Your Railway fund including Ribble Valley’s, were approved to receive a share of £500,000 to develop proposals to build or reopen/railway lines and stations, including those closed following the Beeching cuts of the 1960s.
Broadly Ribble Valleys, it is a composite bid for the (Manchester, Blackburn) - Clitheroe to Hellifield line with three main service options:
Extend the Rochdale- Blackburn terminating service to Clitheroe with possibly some to Hellifield and beyond;
Introduce new Preston to Clitheroe with possibly some to Hellifield and beyond ;
An enhanced DalesRail service.
If the service terminates at Hellifield then new infrastructure will be required at Hellifield station, possibly the reopening of the bay platform, which will need to be factored into the next stage appraisal to avoid the need to turn trains at Settle Junction. The first meeting of the core Restoring Your Railway group met, virtually, to discuss the next steps. Involved were RVBC lead - Nicola Hopkins and Colin Hirst , DfT, LCC, Northern, NwkR and CRL. A wider stakeholder group will be setup and will involve groups such as RVR. The options haven't changed but a crossover to the south of Clitheroe station has been suggested to be included as one of the infrastructure options to save time by not having to go to Horricksford.
The core group is meeting roughly monthly so there will be regular updates on developments. The DfT through RYR fund 75% of the costs of this stage to a maximum of £50k. The balance of 25% has to be found from RVBC and other third parties.
A zoom meeting was held on Wednesday 5th August to which representatives from RVR, SELRAP, Craven DC, Welcome2Yorkshire, North Yorkshire CC and Clitheroe Line CRP attended. The meeting was to discuss any additional proposals, aspirations and any work that had been undertaken which would identify the wider benefits of the scheme to their areas.
The next step was to employ a consultant to draft the initial business case.