Lancashire

Trains between Blackburn and Manchester set to double

MP Jack Straw, Nick Spall from Network Rail, council leader Kate Hollern, and MP Jake Berry Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption MP Jack Straw, Nick Spall from Network Rail, council leader Kate Hollern, and MP Jake Berry agreed to seek approval so construction can begin

Plans to double the number of off-peak trains between Blackburn and Manchester with a new £13.4m two-mile stretch of track have been agreed.

Currently, one train service an hour travels on a single track at Darwen, so building a new stretch of track would allow two to run, Network Rail said.

It signed an agreement with politicians for the Blackburn with Darwen Council-funded project to be approved.

The Department for Transport and the train operator will consider the bid.

'Important step'

If approved, construction would start next summer and the first additional services would run from December 2016.

Blackburn MP Jack Straw, Darwen MP Jake Berry and Blackburn with Darwen Council leader Kate Hollern agreed the plan during a ceremony with Network Rail at Blackburn Town Hall.

Mr Straw said the development was a "culmination of eight years campaigning".

During peak-time periods, two trains an hour run on the track.

Ms Hollern added: "This is an important step towards dramatically improving connectivity between Pennine Lancashire and Greater Manchester."

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