PRESS RELEASE - Ribble Valley Rail Services
Ribble Valley Rail, the User Group for the Ribble Valley Stations of Ramsgreave & Wilpshire, Langho, Whalley, Clitheroe, and also Darwen stations, greatly welcomes the news that Lancashire County Council, in partnership with Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Ribble Valley Councils and Community Rail Lancashire, has commissioned Northern Trains to look at the scope to improve East Lancashire's rail services, including the Clitheroe-Blackburn-Manchester-Rochdale service.
Since the Blackburn to Clitheroe section was reopened in 1994, after over 30 years with no passenger service, the line has gone from strength to strength. From an initial weekdays-only service, a Sunday service was added later, platform lengths extended to accommodate longer trains and later evening services added to the timetable. All this was achieved with ever-growing passenger numbers and the co-operation of the local authorities, the different train operating companies over the last almost 30 years, Network Rail, Community Rail Lancashire and Ribble Valley Rail. Ribble Valley Rail hopes that this project will continue this steady improvement and development of the rail service.
The study will provide a technical assessment of future demand for rail services in East Lancashire, laying the foundations for any potential service enhancements with the rail industry.
The options for the development of services north of Clitheroe to Hellifield and beyond are also included in this initiative. This is also a development, from the Restore Your Railway bid submitted by Ribble Valley Borough Council, which was referred back by the Government for possible agreement and funding at a local level. We also welcome this aspect which, if progressed, would unlock an existing through rail route from Clitheroe and the Ribble Valley onto North Yorkshire and potentially beyond.
Hon. Chairman, Ribble Valley Rail
7 February 2023