Todmorden Curve gets 2014 launch date

The Todmorden Curve is to be restored and will be back in action after being left derelict for more than 30 years. The first trains will travel directly between Burnley and Manchester in May 2014.

Travelling between Burnley and Manchester, a distance of around 20 miles, currently takes between an hour and 90 minutes by train, requiring changes at either Preston or Hebden Bridge.

Now a £6.8m project to connect the east of the county to Manchester has begun, starting with clearing vegetation, rebuilding track, installing signalling and culminating with driver training in early 2014.

Businesses and council leaders had been pushing for the improvements for several years, arguing that better transport links will help boost trade in Burnley.

Blackburn’s Labour MP Jack Straw and Pendle Conservative MP Andrew Stephenson have also signed a parliamentary motion to improve rail capacity across the county.

The £530m Northern Rail Hub plan will electrify the Preston to Manchester line and add 700 trains per day to lines across the north and is slated to take place before 2019.