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Community rail partnership to be formed for Calder Valley Line

Hebden Bridge Station, on the Calder Valley Line

On Monday 7 June, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Members discussed the development of a community rail partnership (CRP) along the Calder Valley Line – which runs from Leeds to Manchester and Blackpool, via Halifax – to help improve access to and use of local rail services.

Approval was given to form a CRP in partnership with Rochdale Council, with Rochdale Council carrying out its accounting, purchasing and employment functions.

The partnership will cover all Calderdale rail stations (Walsden, Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Mytholmroyd, Sowerby Bridge, Halifax and Brighouse, plus Elland station when it opens). It will also include all stations along the Calder Valley line in Rochdale (Mills Hill, Castleton, Rochdale, Smithy Bridge and Littleborough).

Calderdale and Rochdale Councils are working together to establish a CRP steering rroup to run the partnership, which will include a range of members from both areas. A part-time community rail partnershipofficer will be appointed to develop a business plan for the partnership.

Cllr Jane Scullion, Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for Regeneration and Strategy, said: “We are excited to progress the Community Rail Partnership along the Calder Valley line. We look forward to continuing our work with Rochdale Council, and other local groups and partner organisations, to help improve the route and bring multiple benefits for the communities it serves.

“Having a strong rail network enables people to connect with other communities for employment and business opportunities, social reasons and tourism, and to reduce car usage to help protect the environment. This is really important for our inclusive recovery from COVID-19.

“The CRP will build on the excellent work of existing local groups in improving and promoting rail facilities along the Calder Valley line. We are keen to work with these groups as part of the CRP, and we invite them to get involved.”

Cllr John Blundell, cabinet member for Economy and Communications at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “The Calder Valley line is a huge asset for our borough and something we’re really lucky to have. It connects us with our close neighbours inside and outside the borough and is used by millions of people each and every year. It will also be a major focus for the next phase of our regeneration programme which will see us redevelop sites up and down the line through our new rail strategy.

“The new partnership will complement this work by engaging communities around the line and getting them involved in their local railway, with improvement projects big and small. This is a really exciting development, because it’s ultimately the passion and pride of local communities which changes places for the better.”