Frequently Asked Questions

Connecting Communities across the North

Click on the topic below to view the question answer

The answers given below to these frequently asked questions are correct as at 1st November 2020 to the best of SELRAP’s knowledge and belief.
The answers are provided for information purposes only; they are not intended to provide, nor should they be relied upon as providing definitive legal advice.
You should seek your own legal advice before entering into any transaction in relation to any of the matters mentioned below:

The Scheme

SELRAP is the campaign group Skipton East Lancashire Rail Action Partnership whose members are working towards getting the railway between Skipton and Colne re-opened.
We rely on donations and our large membership to keep up the work.

It is difficult to identify the reasons for closure, which was not proposed by the Beeching report.
In the years before closure, the line enjoyed an adequate service with many through trains to/from Manchester, but not to/from Leeds which is now seen as an important destination for services on the line.

SELRAP's campaign is for a passenger service to link East Lancashire with Leeds and other conurbations in Yorkshire and this is the basis of the studies being undertaken for the Department for Transport. Freight services will enhance the business case and help the local and national economies and SELRAP supports this.

SELRAP anticipates that there will be 2 passenger trains per hour in each direction and 1 freight train per hour in each direction (although not necessarily in every hour).
However, when the line has been reopened, this might change, depending on demand. Currently, there is only sufficient capacity near Leeds for one freight train per hour in each direction.

Current services in the north of England include some with very poor performance which Transport for the North is seeking to redress. If the reinstated railway is to succeed, the service will need to be efficient and reliable.
SELRAP believes that it can build on the success of the Airedale Line.

Of course, SELRAP realises that fares will be an important part of the predictions on how many people the new service will attract, but it will be decided at a much later stage. We hope that fare levels will be sensible and set at a level that people can afford.

SELRAP anticipates that the route will be double track, but we need to wait for the Department for Transport's Engineering Study to see whether there are any other viable options.

SELRAP anticipates that the road will be lowered as the railway would need to be at its original level because of nearby bridge constraints. However, until the Department for Transport has undertaken its Engineering Studies, we don't know what will be proposed.

The Department for Transport's studies assume that there will be one new station in Earby, but its location has not been determined yet.

It is impossible to quantify the exact cost of reinstatement at this stage, as this will depend to a large extent on the final engineering solutions proposed.

The proposal has now entered the "Develop" stage which will include various studies that will identify issues and options.
All being well, the results will inform decisions on further approvals.

SELRAP considers that the route could be open for passengers within 7 years of the start of the Engineering Studies (which we hope will start very soon).
This seems a frustratingly long time for us, but public consultation and thorough consideration of any objections is essential and a legal requirement.

The Secretary of State for Transport will decide who will build the line, but it will not be SELRAP.

Roads / Earby

Environmental considerations require that as much traffic as possible (both passenger and freight) be transferred from road to rail. Experience suggests that any new road improvement would provide only temporary relief from congestion and noise, with bottlenecks being merely transferred to other locations.

There will have to be some changes to the roads to build the railway to current standards. For example, we don't expect the original level crossings to be brought back. The options for the railway and road alignments will emerge from the Department for Transport Engineering Studies.

Until the engineering studies have been completed, it is not possible to indicate the precise nature of the work involved or how that work will be sequenced to minimise disruption.

SELRAP understands that new level crossings are no longer allowed on railways such as the Skipton to Colne line.

This awaits the Department for Transport's Engineering Studies for an answer.

The route options for Earby will emerge from the Department for Transport's Engineering Studies.


SELRAP understands that a Development Consent Order must be obtained to rebuild the railway. This is because it is a nationally important infrastructure proposal.
The procedure is set out in law and this includes the requirement for a thorough public consultation and, if necessary, a public inquiry to consider objections.

A decision on the final route will only be known after the process which includes Engineering Studies, public consultation, and a report by the Planning Inspectorate. The Secretary of State for Transport will make the final decision.

SELRAP has established good working relations with most of the organisations that will have inputs to the many factors that need to be considered and encourages them to help achieve the benefits that the railway will bring, but the final decision will be made by the Secretary of State for Transport.

SELRAP has to await the outcome of the Department of Transport's Engineering Studies (like everyone else) before it can fully understand the various possible options.

SELRAP anticipates that the railway will lead to a reduction in pollution levels as a result of the modal shift from road to rail, but the evidence for this will only emerge from the Environmental Impact Assessment.
SELRAP also believes that the improvement to the socio-economic prospects for East Lancashire will generally lift property values.
It seems to SELRAP that it is unlikely that the Government will fund the railway if it doesn't agree with SELRAP on this.

Consideration of any adverse impacts that the new railway might have will be set out in the Environmental Impact Statement that will be prepared before the public consultation.

The Department for Transport's Engineering Studies will determine how much land is needed although SELRAP anticipates that the original land boundary will be sufficient for much of the route. We expect that the Department for Transport will make enquires on land interests in due course.

It is not for SELRAP to advise on this. We understand that compensation may be payable in certain circumstances prescribed by law, but you must make your own enquiries.

The procedure for public consultation and objections will be advertised once specific proposals have been formulated.
At this stage general guidance (not specific to this proposal) can be found at:


The Government's economic strategy is to "level up" the economy of the north with the south. SELRAP is campaigning for investment in this railway to form a part of the economic strategy for recovering growth.