New campaign to get a railway station in Elland

MORE than 1,000 people have signed a petition demanding a new rail station for Elland.

A new group GEARS (Give Elland a Railway Station) is being pushed by the town’s Labour party.

But, a leading councillor has warned much needs to be done before that becomes a reality.

GEARS spokeswoman Angi Gallagher said a station was needed for the town’s growing population.

“I have always seen the case for a railway station – we’re in a crucial position on the transport network between Leeds and Manchester, and this would be a vital investment to help the town thrive,” she said.

The West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority has agreed to look again at the business case for Elland station and Ms Gallagher said she was optimistic about the chances of success.

“But, we need to show that there is strong public support,” she said.

“I want to see a broadly-based campaign, involving local people, businesses and organisations who care for our town, working together to make a convincing case for Elland and its future prosperity.”

Elland Coun David Hardy (Lib-Dem), who represents Calderdale on the authority, said he had been in talks with colleagues and a new viable business plan had to be put in place before any progress could be made.

And, with hundreds of new jobs being created close to the proposed station at Lowfields by the Reactiv Group and Morrisons that could now happen.

“Those developments have ticked the boxes and will be loaded into the criteria and put before the ITA again,” he said.

“The reason why the old business plan was left is that there was no way it could be improved before the influx of jobs.”

If a new business plan won approval funding could be looked for, but there were also other hurdles to overcome, warned Coun Hardy.

The Calder Vale Line was running at near capacity and opening another station would mean spending money on the railway infrastructure which would allow trains to run faster and create the timings needed to open a new station.

Other areas in West Yorkshire are also wanting new stations.

Coun Hardy said there were areas in Leeds with high unemployment but no jobs on their doorstep.

“So, you have to move those people across town,” he said.

“We do need a station in Elland because there will be a lot of people commuting but first we need the business plan which can then be picked up. Everybody knows we want a station but we’ve got to show why.”

The former Elland station shut in 1962.