Campaign to improve rail service gathers steam

Rail electrification work being carried out in Lancashire
Rail electrification work being carried out in Lancashire

Councillors have agreed plans to lobby central government to ensure electrification comes to the Calder Valley line.

The trainline was controversially left off the government’s intial list of schemes that would benefit from electrifcation in the north sparking outrage from councillors, politicians and the public.

The Todmorden News and Hebden Bridge Times began a campaign to put pressure on the government to add the Calder Valley line to the working party’s list and Calderdale Council has now taken a firm stance on the issue.

Cabinet members approved a report aimed at developing “a hard edged economic argument or strategic business case for investment in the line and follow this up with high level engagement and lobbying”.

The recommendations of the report include plans to:

l develop a consortium led by a senior politician and senior officer;

l undertake a review of the local economies along the corridor and compare them with existing rail service needs;

l develop a high level assessment of the potential benefits;

l facilitate a series of business stakeholder events covering the whole of the Calder Valley line.

Council leader Tim Swift said: “For a very long time it has felt like Calder Valley was bottom of the pile when it came to investment nationally. We are very clear about having a strong message about lobbying and developing economic business case for investment in the line.”

Deputy leader Barry Collins said: “The penny has dropped with West Yorkshire Metro - it is about time.”

Councillors also gave the green light to the next stage of developing a train station at Elland.

A total of £75,000 has been allocated from the Economic Taskforce and Local Transport Plan with a further £125,000 of funding sought from Metro to move the plans along the next stage of the process. They said Elland could hope to have a station in place by 2019/2020.