Past present and future of Ribble Valley Line celebrated

A celebration marking 25 years since the restoration of a regular train service between Blackburn and Clitheroe has been held.

Monday, 10th June 2019, 10:36 am
Representatives of some of the organisations involved in the restoration

May 30th, 1994, saw the restoration of a regular train service between Blackburn and Clitheroe calling at new or refurbished stations at Ramsgreave and Wilpshire, Langho and Whalley.

To mark the occasion Community Rail Lancashire held a reception in the Ribble Valley Council Chamber which brought together the people and organisations involved in the restoration of the service back in 1994 and have overseen its subsequent development.

Richard Watts, chairman of Community Rail Lancashire, said: "Today is a celebration of 25 years hard work in developing the Clitheroe Line which plays such an important part in the lives of the many people who depend on it. Many people and organisations have been involved over the years.

"I was part of the campaign that ultimately saved both the Settle Carlisle and Blackburn to Hellifield lines, and as a former officer of Lancashire County Council I was part of the team that brought back the trains to Clitheroe.

"The key to the continuing success of the line is the partnership between the local community, the rail user group, station volunteers, local authorities, the railway industry and the Clitheroe Line Community Rail Partnership pooling resources to further develop the stations and services on the line.

"I look forward to the next 25 years when I hope that through our combined efforts we will see more frequent services with trains and stations fit for the 21st century.”

Speakers at the reception included the Mayor of the Ribble Valley, Coun. Stella Brunskill; Chris Jackson, Northern Regional Director West and Central; County Coun. Andrew Snowden, Lead Highways and Transportation for Lancashire County County Council; Coun. Stephen Atkinson, leader Ribble Valley Borough Council; David Butterworth, Ribble Valley Rail; James Syson, Transport for the North and Richard Watts, Community Rail Lancashire.

Coun. Atkinson said: “As a council we were a part of bringing the railways back to Ribble Valley and it’s a real pleasure to celebrate that achievement.

"Our communities seek better and more reliable connections to the wider world and our Economic Partnership has highlighted the importance of good rail links for a prosperous future.

"We will continue to work with partners to ensure transport is high on the agenda and are particularly keen to see a shift to half hourly services to Manchester and direct connections to Preston and the West Coast mainline.”