Councillors are stepping up a campaign to keep a rail electrification bid on track.

The Government is exploring electrification for northern rail lines, but didn’t include the CalderVale line on a shortlist.

The line links the Calder Valley with Leeds and Manchester, with services stopping in Brighouse and Huddersfield.

But the Department for Transport told the Examiner the list was not definitive and, with a sound business case, all options were open.

Calderdale Council leader Tim Swift said: “This is a critical issue for Calderdale’s future – we must not be left behind and Government must think again.

“Obviously it is good news that the Calder Valley line can be considered – but still a cause for concern that it was not mentioned on the list.

“This line is much more intensively used than many of the ones named, so there has to be a concern that it is not seen as a higher priority by the Department for Transport.

“On the back of this, I’m determined to make sure all the councils and groups along the route do more to raise the profile of this issue.”

Huddersfield rail connections to major cities could go electric  

The government announced last week that the Wigan-Bolton line is to be electrified.

A new task force will consider electrification for routes including Leeds to Harrogate and York; Selby to Hull; Sheffield to Leeds; Sheffield to Doncaster; East Coast Main Line to Middlesbrough; Sheffield to Manchester; Warrington to Chester and Crewe to Chester.

Clr Swift said: “It is an absolutely logical strategic development following on from completion of TransPennine electrification via Huddersfield.”

He says future service patterns will take CalderVale Line trains to other destinations including Manchester Airport, adding: “It will make no sense to run diesels on such services.

“One of the reasons given for Wigan-Bolton electrification is that it will allow through operation of electric service to Manchester Airport.

“The same argument needs to be applied to such as Bradford, Halifax and Rochdale. Calder Valley trains also travel beyond Leeds to Selby and York, both lines to be electrified.”

He has written to other local authorities on the route to press of support and has written to the Secretary of State for Transport, and local MPs to urge action.

A Department for Transport spokesman told the Examiner: “The Government is committed to transforming rail travel for passengers across the north and is investing heavily in electrification of the network through our £600m Northern Hub scheme.

“As part of this commitment we have recently announced the formation of a task force to identify the next generation of schemes.

“If the rail industry is able to demonstrate a business case for electrification of the Calder Valley line then it could be considered by the group.”

Electrification of TransPennine Express lines through Huddersfield has already been confirmed for December, 2018.