Published March 17, 2020 at 12:52
Rossendale Council has submitted an application to the Government’s Restoring Your Railway Fund. This is a new fund announced by the Government to bring forward rail infrastructure. Successful bidders will be awarded £50,000 to supplement feasibility work and can link to further capital funding.
In 2018, the Council developed an early strategic case for investment which identified five possible delivery options and concluded that such a link was both feasible and viable.
Since the closure of the Rawtenstall line in 1972, commuting has grown massively with 60 per cent of Rossendale residents leaving the Borough each day to access employment, mainly within Greater Manchester. Rossendale is the only local authority in Lancashire without a rail link.
Rossendale’s Council-led application has been supported by Lancashire County Council, as the Transport Authority, Jake Berry MP and Sara Britcliffe MP.
Jake Berry MP said:
Rossendale is the only Borough in Lancashire without a rail link and there is a huge amount of local support to re-establish a commuter rail link between Rawtenstall and Manchester.
Sara Britcliffe MP said:
This would once more establish a commuter rail link between Rawtenstall and Manchester, providing economic growth benefits to East Lancashire, as well as improving congestion and air quality problems in the area.
Iain Taylor, Chair of the Valley City Link Steering Group said:
I support the work of Rossendale Borough Council in applying to the Department for Transport ‘Restoring your Railway’ fund. I look forward to working with the Council and Steering Group on this vitally important project for the area.
Chris Baron, Chair of the Irwell Valley Rail Group supported the application, said:
At a time where the climate has become a major concern, it is essential that we look to reliable methods of public transport to reduce private vehicle usage. This rail link has the potential to take a significant number of vehicles off the road, without the destruction of habitat caused by infrastructure projects that do not already have the land to use.
Councillor Alyson Barnes, Leader of Rossendale Borough Council is committed to supporting a commuter link via the East Lancashire Railway’s heritage line.
This application represents a key step in pushing forward our rail link and improve connectivity between Rossendale and Greater Manchester, benefiting Rossendale residents and businesses. Any solution must ensure the continued success of the heritage railway.