The electrification of the Calder Valley for rail services has been recommended as a priority by a cross-party taskforce to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
The group has said that 12 lines across the north of England including six lines in Yorkshire should be pushed to the top of the list for the next round of electrification upgrades which will take place from 2019 to 2024.
It reflects both the importance of the towns in the Calder Valley, in particular as communter towns for Leeds and Manchester, and also that this line is strategically vital when the line through Huddersfield is closedNina Smith, secretary of the Upper Calder Valley Rennaisance Sustainable Transport Group
The report recommends that the case for electrifying 12 lines, including the six through Yorkshire, is developed further ready for the next investment plan by Network Rail which will cover the five years from 2019.
Mr McLoughlin said: “I want to see a rolling plan for further electrification and this study will have a vital part to play in setting the agenda for 2019 and beyond.”
Campaigners from Calder Valley Renaissance Sustainable Transport Group said they were delighted as electrifying the line will mean faster, cleaner, greener, more energy efficient trains, punctual services and massive benefits for Calderdale passengers.
Nina Smith, secretary of the group, said: “Electrification is obviously going to be a very good thing.
“It’s very exciting that the electrification taskforce put the Calder Valley line at the top of its priorities.
“It reflects both the importance of the towns in the Calder Valley, in particular as communter towns for Leeds and Manchester, and also that this line is strategically vital when the line through Huddersfield is closed.”
The news has also been welcomed by politicians from across the political divide.
Coun Stephen Baines, Conservative leader of Calderdale Council, said: “I am delighted that the lobbying carried out by Craig Whittaker MP, Philip Allott and myself has borne fruit.
“This lobbying must continue to ensure that the promises we have been given are delivered especially if it is not a majority Conservative Government.”
Coun Tim Swift, leader of the Labour group on the council, said: “This is really good news. A lot of credit should go to Labour councillor Barry Collins who has fought tirelessly to make the case for electrification, and particularly led the fight to make sure the Calder Valley line was considered after the Government initially missed it out of the list of schemes put forward to the electrification taskforce.”
Alisdair Calder McGregor, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Calder Valley, said: “I’m very pleased to hear that the Liberal Democrat influence in government has secured funding to electrify the Calder Valley Line. This will mean advanced trains, better services and more station calls will be possible throughout Calder Valley.”