Track and signalling

13.08.19

Shadow transport secretary promises East Lancashire rail upgrade

The East Lancashire railway line from Preston to Colne would be upgraded and extended to Skipton, across the Pennines, under a Labour government, according to a promise made by shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald.

Mr McDonald issued a ‘cast iron’ guarantee that work would start on the line upgrade within 10 years of the party winning power. However, he refused to give any firm commitments on a mainline network rail connection from Rawtenstall to Bury and Manchester.

The shadow transport secretary made the promise during a speech at Colne Station.

He told those in attendance: “Labour is committed to upgrading and electrifying the East Lancashire Line from Preston through Blackburn and Burnley to Colne.

“We are also committed to extending the line across the Pennines to Skipton and connecting it to Leeds. There is little point in doing that if we do not improve the rest of the line.

“This is about improving the connectivity of East Lancashire which has been short-changed on transport by the Conservatives like the rest of the North.

READ MORE: East Lancashire calls for new rail link to Manchester

READ MORE: 40-year-old Pacer trains in East Lancashire gone by end of the year, assures Northern

“The money is there and would come from a £500m National Transport Fund to be created by the government and the private sector.

“Re-opening the Colne to Skipton line would be a top priority for an incoming Labour government. The case has been made.

“This government has conducted feasibility studies but not committed any money to it. It’s a matter of political will.

“Work on reopening the route and upgrading the East Lancashire line would start within 10 years of Labour coming to power.”

Mr McDonald has served as shadow transport secretary since being appointed in June 2016, and is currently an elected MP representing his hometown of Middlesbrough.

Image credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

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