Let’s spark a rail revolution in Calder Valley

Metro chairman James Lewis.
Metro chairman James Lewis.

The Hebden Bridge Times and Todmorden News are backing calls for the Calder Valley railway line to be electrified.

Pressure is mounting on the Department for Transport (DfT) to add the line to a shortlist of tracks to be electrified, with the Halifax Courier, the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and the Upper Calder Valley Renaissance Sustainable Transport Group (UCVRSTG) all putting pressure on.

And this week the chairman of Metro, Coun James Lewis, has also argued the case for the Calder Valley, citing the potential economic and tourism boost for the region.

Speaking at the launch of the new bus service provider (TLC Travel) for the upper Calder Valley, Coun Lewis said: “We know that the Manchester and Leeds lines are going to be electrified in the next five years and what we’re trying to do is make sure the Calder Valley line is next in line for investment.

“It’s really important for people visiting the district and commuting in the area that transport services are improved.

“Currently we have got a consortium of councils across the Calder Valley line to make the strongest possible case for improvements and for the electrification.

“We’re lobbying the DfT to try and get the Calder Valley line bumped up the priority list.

“We know that in the next 20 years there’s going to be a huge amount of new jobs in Manchester and Leeds and we don’t want people from Calderdale to miss out on them.”

Electrification would mean faster, cleaner, greener, more energy efficient trains, punctual services and massive benefits for Calderdale passengers using the trans-Pennine link between Leeds and Manchester.

Speaking to the Hebden Bridge Times and Todmorden News last year UCVRSTG secretary Nina Smith said that the group was in favour of electrification but was lobbying the DfT as it had concerns about the omission of the Calder Valley line from the proposed list.

“There is a massive groundswell of support right along the line and it is important that this line is electrified,” she said.

Nina said the campaign had the support of Railfuture, the Halifax and District Rail Action Group, and Support the Oldham Rochdale Manchester rail line.

Calderdale councillors and Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker have also spoken in favour of the electrification.

The Government’s initial list of recommended schemes includes Harrogate, Hull, Middlesbrough, Sheffield to Leeds/Doncaster, Sheffield to Manchester, and Warrington/Crewe to Chester.