Community rail partnership for Calder Valley Line – moving ahead

Much progress has been made on setting up a Calder Valley Community Rail Partnership. A draft prospectus was discussed with stakeholders at an online meeting in January, attended by representatives of Rochdale and Calderdale councils, Network Rail, user groups and station friends groups. The meeting was positive, with support for the idea almost unanimous. Work continues led by officers at Rochdale and Calderdale councils.


Highly acclaimed Amazing Women by Rail is a project supported by Community Rail Lancashire and the MidCheshire Line CRP

After over five years of patient campaigning, HADRAG committee member Richard Lysons (who is also chair of Friends of Littleborough Stations) said, “I am delighted to hear of the genuine keenness and positive moves by Rochdale and Calderdale Councils. The time is absolutely right for such a partnership to be set up. Great strides in line identity were made by the highly acclaimed Discover Amazing Women by Rail, a project that highlighted the tourism potential for our Line. One only has to look at railway lines that have developed community and tourism projects – the Penistone line, Bentham line and Settle-Carlisle – to see the value of community rail.

“With backing from our local councils and elected councillors, the future is bright for a Calder Valley CRP. A draft prospectus will be launched in the New Year and interested parties encouraged to give feedback. A CRP aims to connect the railway closer to local communities and stakeholders. The current pandemic has caused a drop in passenger numbers can hopefully. Rebuilding, we hope to reverse that drop an emphasis on serving the community, encouraging sociable and sustainable travel.”

The council officers have been working closely with the Community Rail Network (formerly ACoRP) who are linked with nearly 70 community rail partnerships and an even greater number of station adoption groups around the country. HADRAG looks forward to continuing to support and develop a Calder Valley CRP.

This is about complementing and supporting, not competing with, active and successful station groups such as those at Brighouse, Low Moor, Sowerby Bridge, Mytholmroyd and Hebden Bridge. – RL

Spots on our route map show a possible area that could be covered by a community rail partnership. A CRP could work with local businesses and leisure groups, as well as town councils and boards, train companies, and local/regional authorities. Travel on the line, and attractions around it, would both be promoted.

Station adoption groups are already doing magnificent work. Supported by a CRP, they should go from strength to strength.

Getting Halifax Connected

Anne Lister, Shibden Hall, and the BBC drama Gentleman Jack have put Halifax on the map. Thousands of fans will descend on the town for the Anne Lister Birthday Weekend on 1st– 5th April this year. Would it not be wonderful if lots of them came by rail?   Women in Community Rail and Discover Amazing Women by Rail are doing a stall in the Piece Hall on Saturday 4 April at the Makers Fair. Most of the weekend’s paid events are already sold out with people coming from the USA and beyond. Some events are at the Minster right next to Halifax station.  Shibden Hall could be extremely crowded that weekend.

Maybe choosing a less busy time, for walkers it’s an invigorating climb (give yourself an hour) from Halifax station to Shibden Hall and Park via Magna Via, the ancient packhorse route over Beacon Hill, with spectacular views. The route also links to a 9km Anne Lister Walk around the delightful Shibden Valley (map and guide for sale  from www.christophergoddard.net).

For the less adventurous a shuttle bus would help. And actually we could do with a permanent “hopper”, linking stations, town, Dean Clough and heritage attractions such as Bankfield Museum as well as Shibden Hall. With regeneration plans in the pipeline for both bus and train stations and new round-town bus circulation, let’s hope inter-modal links will be transformed over the next few years. —RL/JSW