United front needed over rail push

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It is interesting to watch certain Labour councillors try to re-invent the wheel and to try and pretend that they have in some way taken a new initiative in relation to a station in Cornholme.

Whilst welcoming their belated realisation that a new station would serve both the current Hebden Bridge to Blackpool service and the new services via the Burnley curve, it is misleading to claim that their campaign somehow trumps anyone else.

In 1998, newly re-elected to Calderdale Council I issued a press release to the Todmorden News that included the following: “and the building of a new station on the Hebden Bridge to Burnley line. At present Todmorden residents who wish to travel to Burnley have to go to Hebden Bridge to get on the train. I feel that a new station - probably in the Cornholme area - would benefit a large number of current travellers and bring in those people who would like to travel by train but are put off by having to go miles in the wrong direction to catch one.”

In the 16 years that have followed transport in the West Yorkshire area has been largely in the hands of the Labour Party and they did nothing about this aspiration, or indeed to promote the re-opening of the Burnley Curve. For 12 of those 16 years, Labour was in government and did nothing to provide the cash needed either for the Burnley Curve or for a station in Cornholme.

Even now, a station for Portsmouth, Cornholme has no priority in the Labour-run Passenger Transport Authority. Perhaps local Labour councillors could have a word at home?

The money for the Burnley Curve was pushed forward by the then Minister for Transport, Lib Dem Norman Baker under pressure from the newly elected Lib Dem MP for Burnley, Gordon Birtwistle.

So, thank you Labour for supporting a long running campaign. What is needed now to take this battle forward is a united front, across all parties, not a party political one that is doomed to failure. Let’s work together.

Dr Michael Taylor

Todmorden Lib Dems