MAJOR changes are in the pipeline for commuters catching trains through East Lancashire when new timetables come into force next month.

Rail services between Blackburn stations and Colne, and the Lancashire-Yorkshire express route, are set to be retimed by up to half-an-hour as part of a wholesale shake-up of the north-west network.

Bosses at Northern Rail say the alterations have been brought about because of the electrification of First Trans-Pennine Express services.

This affects not only the Blackpool South to Colne ‘stopper’ service but also Blackpool North to York trains, calling at Blackburn, Accrington and Burnley Manchester Road.

It could mean an earlier start for some, with a new 07.23 train from Colne arriving in Blackburn for 08.02 and similarly the 08.23 service retimed for after 9am.

Return trains from Blackburn at teatime will usually leave just before the half-hour mark, instead of either 10 minutes or two minutes before the hour.

A Northern Rail spokesman said: “Northern services across the network are being revised as a result of the enhancement of First TransPennine Express services between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, York and Newcastle.

“Services between Blackpool and York have to fit between other trains throughout their journey, on congested sections of the network, such as between Leeds and York.

“As part of the recast of service, it is therefore necessary to retime these trains, and similarly to retime the trains between Blackpool South and Colne.

“Whilst there are retimings to services, current frequency levels and journey opportunities are maintained on these routes.”