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New rail link announced between Manchester and The Dales

Saturday, 16 March 2024 11:35

By Thomas Barrett, Local Democracy Reporter

Hellifield Railway Station. Photograph: Network Rail

Councillors have urged the public to take advantage of a train service between Greater Manchester and Hellifield that is set to begin in June.

Train operator Northern has confirmed a weekly Saturday-only service between Rochdale and Ribblehead via Manchester Victoria, Bolton, Clitheroe and Hellifield will operate from Saturday June 8.

Northern said the service will be called the Yorkshire Dales Explorer with further details set to be released closer to June.
The Dales Rail train service previously ran on Sundays from Blackburn and Clitheroe to the Settle-Carlisle line at Hellifield but was cancelled last year.

The changes were discussed by York & North Yorkshire Combined Authority trains officer Graham North at a meeting of Skipton and Ripon councillors on Thursday.

Cllr Simon Myers (Conservative, Mid-Craven) said the new Saturday service will improve travel times. He said: “I’m really pleased. The main thing is that people use it. That’s is what will determine its future.”

Cllr David Staveley (Conservative, Settle & Penyghent) said Hellifield station has a lot of potential due to its location. He added: “It’s been ridiculously low-hanging fruit for far too long. Locally it was said from Hellifield, being an interchange station, you could get anywhere in England.”

Network Rail completed a £550,000 project to refurbish the Victorian station in the 2010s.
Cllr Andy Solloway (Independent, Skipton West & West Craven) added: “If people use it, then we can start expanding it. Hellifield is a brilliant station and it’s a natural connection for people using the Settle-Carlisle line.”

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