The Anonymous Widower

Reinstatement Of The Clitheroe To Hellifield Railway Line

This is one of the successful bids in the First Round of the Restoring Your Railway Fund.

This line is part of the route between Blackburn and Hellifield stations, which I have tried to use a couple of times in the past without success.

Why Blackburn? You may ask!

When I’m in that area, I often stay in the Premier Inn in the town, as it’s only about a hundred metres from the station. There are a couple of reliable gluten-free eateries too by the hotel.

A couple of times, I’ve taken the train up the Ribble Valley Line to Clitheroe and had a look around.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many trains to Hellifield from Blackburn and only on Sundays. Twice, though, I’ve planned trips to get a Sunday morning train from Blackburn to Hellifield and twice the train has been cancelled.

Perhaps, I’ll get to go later this year.

I’ve been to Clitheroe a couple of times and these pictures show the state of the lower section of the line.

Wikipedia documents a lot of improvements to the line over the last few years and now there are now generally two trains per hour (tph) between Blackburn and Manchester and one tph between Blackburn and Clitheroe on the route.

Clitheroe And Hellifield

I have just flown my virtual helicopter between Clitheroe and Hellifield stations and the route is best characterised as follows.

  •  A fairly straight double-track railway.
  • No current stations, although they used to exist at Chatburn, Rimington, Gisburn and Newsholme.
  • Mainly agricultural countryside.
  • Lots of businesses flagged up by Google Maps, of which many are visitor related.

Finally, I arrived at Hellifield station.

Note.

  1. The railway line to the South East leads to Skipton and Leeds
  2. The railway line to the South is the Ribble Valley Line and it leads to Clitheroe, Blackburn and Manchester.
  3. The line to the North East is the Settle and Carlisle Line.

I think I can see where those that took the trouble to nominate the Ribble Valley Line between Clitheroe and Hellifield are coming from.

  • There is a well-maintained double-track railway in good condition between Manchester and Hellifield via Bolton, Darwen, Blackburn and Clitheroe, that links to the countryside above Clitheroe that needs vistors for its businesses and produce.
  • Lancashire County Council, the Community Rail Partnerships in the area and local activists have done a good job on Network Rail to persuade them to improve the railway.
  • The Settle and Carlisle is waiting for visitors to explore one of the world’s most iconic railways.

All it needs is a train service and possibly a station or two!

Some of my questions.

What Are The Local Aspirations?

I found this article on the Lancashire Telegraph, which is entitled Campaign To Restore Rail Service From Clitheroe To Hellifield.

This is a quote from the Ribble Valley Council leader.

This plan forms part of the council’s approved proposals to drive the Ribble Valley economy to create more jobs, particularly for our young people and further strengthen our strong tourist industry. It will take cars off congested roads and bring more tourists to the Ribble Valley. It will also improve the connectivity for the Ribble Valley community to surrounding urban conurbations for residents.

These are other points from the article.

  • An aim is to see the reopening of Chatburn, Gisburn and Newsholme stations.
  • Another is better links to Manchester.
  • New rolling stock is planned for the line.
  • The line is used daily by heavy freight trains.
  • It would connect Clitheroe to Bradford, Leeds and Skipton

It does seem to me, that restoring the services between Clitheroe and Hellifield could offer a lot of benefits.

What Frequency Of Trains Is Needed Between Manchester and Hellifield, via Bolton, Blackburn and Clitheroe?

The frequency on the Settle and Carlisle Line is around eight trains per day (tpd), with six on Sundays.

That frequency would probably not be sustainable on the Ribble Valley Line, but the train timetable should be such, that someone can leave Manchester in the morning, have an adventure and return in the evening.

Is Any New Infrastructure Required?

As trains use the line occasionally, I suspect that all the track, signalling and communications needed for perhaps four tpd in both directions between Clitheroe and Hellifield is in place.

So the only thing needed in the fullness of time, might be the extra stations.

But which one do you do first?

I would do the following.

First I would ask passengers, where they would like additional stations on the route.

And then why not build a temporary one using scaffolding and see what happens.

The picture shows a temporary platform at Liverpool South Parkway station, whilst Lime Street was closed for rebuilding.

Conclusion

I have a feeling that it restoring psassenger trains between Clitheroe and Hellifield will be a worthwhile thing to do.

 

 

May 24, 2020 - Posted by | Transport | , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] Reinstatement Of The Clitheroe To Hellifield Railway Line […]

    Pingback by Restoring Your Railway Fund « The Anonymous Widower | May 25, 2020 | Reply


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