Plans for Burnley to Manchester rail link move closer

Todmorden curve
Image caption Reinstating the Todmorden Curve would provide a direct rail route between Burnley and Manchester

Plans for a faster rail route between East Lancashire and Manchester have moved a step closer.

Network Rail has agreed to pay for a final assessment of a plan to reinstate the Todmorden Curve rail link.

The 500m section of track, which has not been used since the 1960s, connects the Burnley to Manchester lines and would cut travel time to 40 minutes.

Commuters currently have to change trains at Hebden Bridge, meaning the journey takes one hour 20 minutes.

'Major growth'

A spokesman for Network Rail said it would need money from other bodies - possibly the local council or from the North West Development Agency - to bring the plans to fruition.

Hyndburn MP Graham Jones said he is "confident" the Todmorden Curve will be up and running in three years' time.

"They [Network Rail] have just committed £300,000 to finalise the study to put the track back and it is a top priority, so I really think it will go ahead."

He said on his blog: "This is something I have campaigned vigorously for. Manchester is an economic major growth area and still growing and we must take advantage of that.

"Good public transport always makes for greater economic prosperity. It gives people social and economic mobility."

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