SIR - In answer to Mr. Heaton, (Spend the money on a new station instead, Craven Herald letters, July 4) given that he lives in Cowling, I can understand his desire for a station at Cross Hills, and there is probably much to commend it.

However, I cannot leave his inaccuracies unchallenged regarding Skipton to Colne.

Firstly, because of conflict with passenger services, bio-mass trains from Liverpool take a lengthy detour into Cheshire and around Manchester before finally heading east again. Put simply, re-opening Skipton to Colne will shorten the route, not lengthen it. The current time of seven to 11 hours will fall to under five (Transport for the North thinks under four, but let's be cautious).

Also, SELRAP's main passenger focus is on extending the Airedale service into East Lancashire. After all, if somebody in Colne can get to a job in Leeds in under an hour, they will make over 200 return journeys a year. If the time to Manchester remains as slow as he supposes, nobody will travel to Manchester to work, and how many trips a year does anyone make to an airport?

In other words, faster access to Manchester is not a major feature in the justification.

On the other hand, Colne to Leeds is 33 miles. Colne to Manchester is 34 miles. Colne to Manchester in an hour should be possible, but not with a geriatric train service where the passenger must walk between stations to change trains, currently two hours 13 minutes. The X43 bus takes less than two hours, and that has to run the gauntlet of Manchester traffic!

Improving the Colne to Manchester train service is not part of SELRAP's project, but it could happen as a consequence. I certainly hope so. I would prefer to get a train to Manchester to visit my daughter, rather than drive, but right now, going from Skipton to Manchester by train via Leeds takes as long as the bus (and it costs too much!).

David Walsh

Western Road,