THE leader of Ribble Valley Council is stepping up the campaign to reopen the goods-only railway line from Clitheroe to Hellifield for passengers.

Cllr Ken Hind seeking support from the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Transport for the North TfN).

He has already raised the issue with Northern Rail, Lancashire County Council and Network Rail.

Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans has also tackled Transport Secretary Chris Grayling in Parliament about the project.

The Clitheroe to Hellifield line closed to passengers in 1962.

Re-opening it to passengers would restore links from Clitheroe to Skipton, Leeds and Bradford in Yorkshire and Lancaster and Carlisle on the West Coast Mainline.

Earlier this month when TfN was given legal powers and an £80million budget it made investment in the Central Pennines Corridor from East Lancashire to West Yorkshire a key priority.

Cllr Hind said: "We are stepping up our campaign to re-open this line to passengers.

"It is heavily-used for freight traffic and in good condition.

"We have met with Northern and Network Rail and Lancashire County Council with officials from TfN in attendance.

"I am now approaching the LEP for their backing and seeking further support from TfN.

"We see the reopening of Clitheroe to Hellifield to passengers as complementary to, not instead of, bringing back the Colne to Skipton line.

"It could be done quickly at a tenth of the cost of that project, which is estimated at more than £10million.

"This would be key part of improving East-West links."

Andy Shackleton, liaison officer for campaign group SELRAP seeking to restore the Colne-Skipton line, said: "I personally would fully support reopening the goods line from Clitheroe to Hellifield to passengers."