Refresh for Early Strategic Case for Investment – Rawtenstall to Manchester, The Valley City Link

Published September 2, 2020 at 16:02

Rossendale Council has reappointed CEBR consultants to conduct a refresh of the early strategic case for investment for the Rawtenstall to Manchester rail link. 

The 2018 study produced by CEBR identified five possible delivery options to restore the Rawtenstall to Manchester route. These included an expansion of the Metrolink, heavy rail reconnection and a combination of shuttle options involving the heritage railway.

The study showed there was a credible case for reopening and that that there would be high levels of footfall attracted to regular services.

Since the publication of the report Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) in their transport plan have earmarked part of the heritage railway route from Bury-Heywood-Rochdale as suitable for tram-train operations. It’s important therfore that any extension from Bury to Ramsbottom-Stubbins-Ewood Bridge-Rawtenstall is properly incorporated. 

The government has invited Rossendale Council to submit a new bid to the Restoring Your Railway fund, following an earlier March submission with a new funding round in November.  

The application is support by Rossendale’s two MPs, Jake Berry and Sara Britcliffe. The project is also listed as a pipeline project by Transport for the North 2027+ in their draft strategy. The refreshed report will form part of the Restoring Your Railways bid as well as a future Transport for the North submission. 

Cllr Alyson Barnes, Leader of Rossendale Council said: “This is an important social, cultural and employment link and would support economic growth in the borough. 

The prospect of restoring our link, lost in the 1970s, whilst retaining the heritage railway is a strategic objective of the Council.  

The work that we have undertaken has restored the credibility of the project with key partners and there is a need to update the report following TfGMs tram-train proposals. The short-term goal is to secure external funding for a strategic business case into the reopening.” 


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