Ribble Valley Line
|Ribble Valley Line|
North West England
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Ribble Valley Line|
The Ribble Valley Line is a railway line that runs from Manchester Victoria through Blackburn to the small market town of Clitheroe in Lancashire. Regular passenger services normally only run as far as Clitheroe, but occasional passenger services run along the line through north Lancashire towards the Yorkshire town of Hellifield, where it joins the Settle-Carlisle Railway. The line passes over the distinctive 48 span Whalley Viaduct.
The line between Blackburn and Hellifield was closed to passengers in 1962 but continued to be used for diversions and for freight. After a public campaign, the line between Blackburn and Clitheroe was reopened to regular passenger services in 1994, and an infrequent service was later reintroduced between Clitheroe and Hellifield.
The towns and villages on the route are the following:
- Hall i' th' Wood
- Bromley Cross
- Ramsgreave and Wilpshire
Passenger services from Clitheroe to Manchester via Blackburn are operated by Northern Rail. On summer Sundays, Northern Rail also operates the DalesRail service, which starts at Blackpool and continues beyond Clitheroe to the Settle - Carlisle line, where it calls at all the stations en route to Carlisle. This service was extended, from mid-September, 2013, to cover Sundays throughout the remainder of the year.
The service from Manchester to Clitheroe was designated by the Department for Transport as a community rail service in March 2007. It was announced in March 2007 that major improvements to the line were being proposed by Blackburn with Darwen Council, who unveiled an £8 million bid to the Department for Transport and Network Rail. Improvements may include installing double tracks where presently the route is single line, improved signalling giving increased track capacity, enhanced line speed, longer trains at peak times and ultimately putting on more frequent trains to and from Manchester throughout the day. However, the funding for the scheme was eventually rejected in March 2008.
The line between Blackburn and Clitheroe was temporarily closed in November 2008 due to a major refurbishment. The £5 million scheme included 11,651 yards of continuous welded rail, 16,000 new concrete or steel sleepers and 40,000 tonnes of ballast. Replacement bus services ran between Clitheroe and Blackburn. The line re-opened on 28 November 2008.
In 2009, a scheme called "Pennine Lancashire" proposed new housing, tourist attractions and improved transport links, supported by the Labour Government and Prime Minister of that time. The scheme included enhancements to the Ribble Valley Line including
- new signalling
- doubling single track lines
- increased line-speeds
- new rolling-stock
- extending platform lengths
- "£8m train service upgrade on track". Lancashire Telegraph. 2007-03-26. Retrieved 2008-06-28.
- "£8m Bolton-Blackburn rail revamp derailed". The Bolton News. 2008-03-20. Retrieved 2008-06-28.
- Rail issue 602
- Clitheroe Advertiser and Times Thursday, 15 January 2009 (No 6389)
- Clitheroe Advertiser article on the proposed changes
- James, David (2004). Lancashire's Lost Railways. Catrine, Ayrshire: Stenlake Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84033-288-9. OCLC 56002103.
- Welch, S. Lancashire Steam Finale, ISBN 1-870754-61-1