Major boost as £9million rail link cash announced for Burnley

Major boost as £9million rail link cash announced for Burnley

SCHEME The Todmorden Curve

INVESTMENT An artist’s impression of Burnley Manchester Road station

First published in News Lancashire Telegraph: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

A £9million scheme to create a direct rail link between Burnley and Manchester has been given the go-ahead.

Jubilant campaigners said the Todmorden Curve project was ‘absolutely vital’ to the future prosperity of Burnley and the local area.

Calls to restore the line have been made for over 50 years and the project should reduce train travel times between Burnley and Manchester’s Victoria station to around 35 minutes.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg confirmed the project can now go ahead with investment from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF).

An estimated £85million worth of knock-on benefits, particularly for the Weavers’ Triangle area, and 130 jobs established, are predicted.

More than £24million is set to be invested across East Lancashire, by the RGF, to help businesses pull clear of the recession and support inward investment.

No timescale has yet been given for the Todmorden Curve scheme.

Currently commuters are forced to extend their journey to Hebden Bridge, to connect with a Manchester-bound service, or change at Blackburn, in the opposite direction.

Yesterday’s announcement completes a regeneration hat-trick for Burnley, following the £3.8million European Regional Development Fund backing for Burnley Bridge Business Park and confirmation a new university training college will be constructed within the Weavers’ Triangle.

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Work is also set to start upgrading Burnley Manchester Road station.

Stephen Martin, chairman of campaign group Save the East Lancashire Line Association (STELLA), said: “This will mean a much shorter journey for passengers and save us having to make connections at Blackburn, which are particularly poor at the moment.”

Supporters of the bid included Burnley Council, Barnfield Investment Properties, Network Rail and Lancashire County Council.

Council leader Coun Charlie Briggs said: “I am really proud of all those who have made this possible, and proud of the partnership working between businesses and the public sector.

“Our local MP, Gordon Birtwistle, has been an important influence as he been very active in pressing the case for this and a number of other economic development priorities.”

Mr Birtwistle said: “There were many who believed this day would never come, who believed our heritage had no part in our future, who doubted Burnley could ever have a commutable ‘city-offer’.

“This is a sign that we’re on the way. This government has delivered, and over the coming years jobs will result from this announcement. This is great news for Burnley and the surrounding area too.”

County councillor Tim Ashton, Lancashire’s transport cabinet member, added: “Creating a fast rail link between Burnley and Manchester is our number one priority in terms of improving rail transport in the county in response to the needs of our communities.

“Reinstating the Todmorden Curve is vital for boosting jobs and economic growth in this part of Lancashire, so I am very pleased that central government has recognised the hard work of all involved and approved this bid.”

Former Burnley MP Peter Pike, now the borough’s Labour party chairman, said he pursued the scheme in Parliament and formerly as council leader.

“I have always believed that this major improvement in communications for Burnley would be the biggest single factor in ensuring a good economic future for Burnley,” he added.

The move has also been heralded by Whitehall and transport campaigners further afield.

Transport Minister Theresa Villiers hailed the Todmorden Curve and Weavers’ Triangle projects as ‘great’, with the potential to bring higher-paid jobs to Burnley.

She added: “Burnley has been waiting for the Todmorden Curve for so long and today’s announcement is a huge step forward to making this new stretch of railway a reality.”

Simon Leyshon, of Network Rail, said: “The Todmorden Curve project will put Burnley within commuting distance of Manchester and open up all the tourist and leisure opportunities the city has to offer.”

Stephen Joseph, of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “ By filling in this infamous missing link on the rail network, Burnley and other Lancashire towns will get much quicker services to Manchester, improving access for employment and helping address the deprivation in the area.

“We hope the Government will look at other rail re-openings as a means of reviving local economies.”

Comments (23)

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11:22am Mon 31 Oct 11

happycyclist says...

Congratulations to those who fought for this for Burnley.

I can't see any more money coming this way for Blackburn/Darwen's call for double-tracking of the line to Manchester, now.
Congratulations to those who fought for this for Burnley. I can't see any more money coming this way for Blackburn/Darwen's call for double-tracking of the line to Manchester, now. happycyclist
  • Score: 0

11:38am Mon 31 Oct 11

nil bye mouth says...

Great news well done to all concerned.
Great news well done to all concerned. nil bye mouth
  • Score: 0

11:39am Mon 31 Oct 11

shytalk says...

Investment in rail is an absolute necessity so at last a correct political decision has been made and well done to those who were involved.
Investment in rail is an absolute necessity so at last a correct political decision has been made and well done to those who were involved. shytalk
  • Score: 0

1:00pm Mon 31 Oct 11

DaveBurnley says...

Excellent news! Could be a turning point for Burnley and Pendle's economies.
Excellent news! Could be a turning point for Burnley and Pendle's economies. DaveBurnley
  • Score: 0

1:31pm Mon 31 Oct 11

Philip A Berry says...

Another turning point would be to re-open the East Lancs line through to Skipton.
Another turning point would be to re-open the East Lancs line through to Skipton. Philip A Berry
  • Score: 0

1:51pm Mon 31 Oct 11

bankhall says...

wow so a jouney time will be cut to the time it takes now on a bus so what?? how will that create jobs ?????bizarre
wow so a jouney time will be cut to the time it takes now on a bus so what?? how will that create jobs ?????bizarre bankhall
  • Score: 0

2:03pm Mon 31 Oct 11

notchuffed says...

Think this is fanatastic news and it is good to see positives being announced instead of all the negatives shown over the years, particularly in respect of sensationalist journalism.

In this respect I don't want to appear to be negative, but can somebody explain to me how re-instating 500yards of rail track where the embankments and levels are already in place can cost £9m i.e. £18k per yard (approx 1 metre)
Think this is fanatastic news and it is good to see positives being announced instead of all the negatives shown over the years, particularly in respect of sensationalist journalism. In this respect I don't want to appear to be negative, but can somebody explain to me how re-instating 500yards of rail track where the embankments and levels are already in place can cost £9m i.e. £18k per yard (approx 1 metre) notchuffed
  • Score: 0

2:06pm Mon 31 Oct 11

JayEss says...

bankhall wrote:
wow so a jouney time will be cut to the time it takes now on a bus so what?? how will that create jobs ?????bizarre
It takes about 90 minutes on the bus. 35 minutes would be a godsend!
Anything that misses out the Manchester road traffic is an improvement.
Plus it might not create jobs in Burnley, but makes the Manchester jobs more available. = good thing for Burnley.
[quote][p][bold]bankhall[/bold] wrote: wow so a jouney time will be cut to the time it takes now on a bus so what?? how will that create jobs ?????bizarre[/p][/quote]It takes about 90 minutes on the bus. 35 minutes would be a godsend! Anything that misses out the Manchester road traffic is an improvement. Plus it might not create jobs in Burnley, but makes the Manchester jobs more available. = good thing for Burnley. JayEss
  • Score: 0

2:06pm Mon 31 Oct 11

ROBERTSLUMDWELLER123 says...

how will it create jobs??? there's no industry left in burnley unless your talking about pound/charity shops,and it finally kills off the no hope chance of extending the line through too Skipton,,but i suppose it make's good reading for councillors mp's etc,,,
how will it create jobs??? there's no industry left in burnley unless your talking about pound/charity shops,and it finally kills off the no hope chance of extending the line through too Skipton,,but i suppose it make's good reading for councillors mp's etc,,, ROBERTSLUMDWELLER123
  • Score: 0

2:13pm Mon 31 Oct 11

tonygreaves says...

Excellent news on the Tod Curve - one thing I can stop making a nuisance of myself on in the House of Lords (there are plenty of others - not least the Colne-Skipton line).

The £9 million cost is really a minor scandal - it's due to ridiculous Network Rail "safety" rules (signalling distances etc) that involve building an extension to Tod station when all that is needed is a low speed limit round the curve. But they treat it as a new line and so apply present-day rules. Also the alignment has to be changed to allow for modern rules on curces. If the line was still in place it would cost a lot less. But it seems that Network Rail are unmovable which is why the cost is £9 million and if we want the link we have to accept the cost.

Tony Greaves
Excellent news on the Tod Curve - one thing I can stop making a nuisance of myself on in the House of Lords (there are plenty of others - not least the Colne-Skipton line). The £9 million cost is really a minor scandal - it's due to ridiculous Network Rail "safety" rules (signalling distances etc) that involve building an extension to Tod station when all that is needed is a low speed limit round the curve. But they treat it as a new line and so apply present-day rules. Also the alignment has to be changed to allow for modern rules on curces. If the line was still in place it would cost a lot less. But it seems that Network Rail are unmovable which is why the cost is £9 million and if we want the link we have to accept the cost. Tony Greaves tonygreaves
  • Score: 0

2:19pm Mon 31 Oct 11

ToffeeGuy says...

I can't work out how this service will be timetabled. Will the trains run from Burnley MR to Manchester and back?
I can't see how demand would justify this service.

They can't run from Colne to Manchester because there isn't a similar curve at Gannow junction to allow that to happen.

Perhaps the answer would be to run a 'circular' service from Manchester-Darwen-Bl
ackburn-Accrington-B
urnley-Manchester. This would provide an extra service between the main towns of East Lancs. If that train stopped at Rose Grove then that would provide connections to Nelson/Colne. Leaving in existing services this would increase fequency between Bburn - Acc - Burn to 3 trains an hour and the extra services to Manchester.

I still think a better investment would be to double track the line to Colne again to enable a half hourly service with the ultimate aim of electrifying the line.

In the short term, links to Manchester from Burnley could be improved with a faster bus service via the M65 and A/M56 leaving out the time consuming climb/descent to Rawtenstall.
I can't work out how this service will be timetabled. Will the trains run from Burnley MR to Manchester and back? I can't see how demand would justify this service. They can't run from Colne to Manchester because there isn't a similar curve at Gannow junction to allow that to happen. Perhaps the answer would be to run a 'circular' service from Manchester-Darwen-Bl ackburn-Accrington-B urnley-Manchester. This would provide an extra service between the main towns of East Lancs. If that train stopped at Rose Grove then that would provide connections to Nelson/Colne. Leaving in existing services this would increase fequency between Bburn - Acc - Burn to 3 trains an hour and the extra services to Manchester. I still think a better investment would be to double track the line to Colne again to enable a half hourly service with the ultimate aim of electrifying the line. In the short term, links to Manchester from Burnley could be improved with a faster bus service via the M65 and A/M56 leaving out the time consuming climb/descent to Rawtenstall. ToffeeGuy
  • Score: 0

2:47pm Mon 31 Oct 11

Wildman2011 says...

Excellent news
Excellent news Wildman2011
  • Score: 0

2:55pm Mon 31 Oct 11

Wildman2011 says...

bankhall wrote:
wow so a jouney time will be cut to the time it takes now on a bus so what?? how will that create jobs ?????bizarre
Get your facts right or shut up pal.
[quote][p][bold]bankhall[/bold] wrote: wow so a jouney time will be cut to the time it takes now on a bus so what?? how will that create jobs ?????bizarre[/p][/quote]Get your facts right or shut up pal. Wildman2011
  • Score: 0

3:26pm Mon 31 Oct 11

Noiticer says...

Great news for NE Lancs and another incremental improvement in the area's rail network. It's highly likely that the service via Burnley and Todmorden will commence and terminate at Blackburn as this is the only location with turnback facilities so Blackburn passengers will also benefit with an alternative route to M/C albeit slightly longer.
Now, the campaigns to re-open the lines to Skipton and to Hellifield must be stepped up so that the area has even better connectivity via through routes.
Great news for NE Lancs and another incremental improvement in the area's rail network. It's highly likely that the service via Burnley and Todmorden will commence and terminate at Blackburn as this is the only location with turnback facilities so Blackburn passengers will also benefit with an alternative route to M/C albeit slightly longer. Now, the campaigns to re-open the lines to Skipton and to Hellifield must be stepped up so that the area has even better connectivity via through routes. Noiticer
  • Score: 0

5:45pm Mon 31 Oct 11

DaveBurnley says...

"I still think a better investment would be to double track the line to Colne again to enable a half hourly service with the ultimate aim of electrifying the line." (ToffeeGuy)



Quite right, but let's take it step by step. If we try for everything they will throw it all out.
"I still think a better investment would be to double track the line to Colne again to enable a half hourly service with the ultimate aim of electrifying the line." (ToffeeGuy) Quite right, but let's take it step by step. If we try for everything they will throw it all out. DaveBurnley
  • Score: 0

6:15pm Mon 31 Oct 11

Pennine Lad says...

Very good news indeed, but (1) when will this happen, (2) what about money for the extra rolling stock that will be needed and (3) is there an agreed subsidy for the running costs?

If Gordon Birtwistle is being so self-congratulatory about this, he should also answer for his direct role in losing millions of pounds and thousands of jobs in Burnley by the abandonment of Housing Market Renewal (Elevate) funding, the abolition of the NW Development Agency, the continuing loss of NHS facilities in this area, and all the other public spending cuts that his Tory-led Government has implemented.
Very good news indeed, but (1) when will this happen, (2) what about money for the extra rolling stock that will be needed and (3) is there an agreed subsidy for the running costs? If Gordon Birtwistle is being so self-congratulatory about this, he should also answer for his direct role in losing millions of pounds and thousands of jobs in Burnley by the abandonment of Housing Market Renewal (Elevate) funding, the abolition of the NW Development Agency, the continuing loss of NHS facilities in this area, and all the other public spending cuts that his Tory-led Government has implemented. Pennine Lad
  • Score: 0

6:23pm Mon 31 Oct 11

Cliviger Gal says...

I think its great news for Burnley - well done to all who have worked hard for this.
Now its time to look into re-instating the Cliviger Station so people in this area don't have to travel to Manchester Road or Todmorden.
This would ease both the traffic on local roads & the problem with parking at those stations.
I think its great news for Burnley - well done to all who have worked hard for this. Now its time to look into re-instating the Cliviger Station so people in this area don't have to travel to Manchester Road or Todmorden. This would ease both the traffic on local roads & the problem with parking at those stations. Cliviger Gal
  • Score: 0

7:01pm Mon 31 Oct 11

MerlinTheVoiceofReason2 says...

Pennine Lad wrote:
Very good news indeed, but (1) when will this happen, (2) what about money for the extra rolling stock that will be needed and (3) is there an agreed subsidy for the running costs?

If Gordon Birtwistle is being so self-congratulatory about this, he should also answer for his direct role in losing millions of pounds and thousands of jobs in Burnley by the abandonment of Housing Market Renewal (Elevate) funding, the abolition of the NW Development Agency, the continuing loss of NHS facilities in this area, and all the other public spending cuts that his Tory-led Government has implemented.
The very reason this scheme has got the go-ahead is because the NWDA was disbanded. The NWDA quango was handed cash from central government and allocated funds not always based on merit but to satisfy the hidden agendas of the committee members, weighted disproportionately in favour of Manchester and Liverpool. I can prove that by means of FOI data. Now that the NWDA has been abolished, individual councils and MPs can make a case for their local needs, without being at the mercy of non-elected quango board members.
[quote][p][bold]Pennine Lad[/bold] wrote: Very good news indeed, but (1) when will this happen, (2) what about money for the extra rolling stock that will be needed and (3) is there an agreed subsidy for the running costs? If Gordon Birtwistle is being so self-congratulatory about this, he should also answer for his direct role in losing millions of pounds and thousands of jobs in Burnley by the abandonment of Housing Market Renewal (Elevate) funding, the abolition of the NW Development Agency, the continuing loss of NHS facilities in this area, and all the other public spending cuts that his Tory-led Government has implemented.[/p][/quote]The very reason this scheme has got the go-ahead is because the NWDA was disbanded. The NWDA quango was handed cash from central government and allocated funds not always based on merit but to satisfy the hidden agendas of the committee members, weighted disproportionately in favour of Manchester and Liverpool. I can prove that by means of FOI data. Now that the NWDA has been abolished, individual councils and MPs can make a case for their local needs, without being at the mercy of non-elected quango board members. MerlinTheVoiceofReason2
  • Score: 0

8:54pm Mon 31 Oct 11

mysay.com says...

all this talk of burnley colne skipton todmorden, what about the ongoing battle to re-instate the rawtenstall manchester commuter link, this would reduce the travelling time even further as it would be a far more direct route, reducing the congestion on the m66, speed up the bus service by cutting out rawtenstall and going m65/m56? 1, clearly you cant read a map or you know how much extra travelling distance that would create which would obviously increase the fare, 2, why should rawtenstall be by-passed when it is the quickest and shortest route?
all this talk of burnley colne skipton todmorden, what about the ongoing battle to re-instate the rawtenstall manchester commuter link, this would reduce the travelling time even further as it would be a far more direct route, reducing the congestion on the m66, speed up the bus service by cutting out rawtenstall and going m65/m56? 1, clearly you cant read a map or you know how much extra travelling distance that would create which would obviously increase the fare, 2, why should rawtenstall be by-passed when it is the quickest and shortest route? mysay.com
  • Score: 0

11:14am Tue 1 Nov 11

fabinribblevalley says...

Pity Thatcher stole all the railways from us just to fill her and the wealthiest peoples pot. Now it is costing a fortune to replace what they dug up after everyone told them at the time it was a short sighted decision. The person suggesting we re-open the Blackburn/Skipton link, I cannot think why they don't do it everything is in place, the track has been recently upgraded so what is stopping them.The tories are driving us off the roads so at least give us our railways back, after all they can't have it both ways.
Pity Thatcher stole all the railways from us just to fill her and the wealthiest peoples pot. Now it is costing a fortune to replace what they dug up after everyone told them at the time it was a short sighted decision. The person suggesting we re-open the Blackburn/Skipton link, I cannot think why they don't do it everything is in place, the track has been recently upgraded so what is stopping them.The tories are driving us off the roads so at least give us our railways back, after all they can't have it both ways. fabinribblevalley
  • Score: 0

12:19pm Tue 1 Nov 11

bankhall says...

55pm Mon 31 Oct 11

bankhall wrote:
wow so a jouney time will be cut to the time it takes now on a bus so what?? how will that create jobs ?????bizarre
Get your facts right or shut up pal like)
what moron ? that is a fact .Also how many people are gling to pay double the bus fares .A day return to Manchester will be approx £10.00 without a doubt plus the fares to Burnley from pendle so who would save hahahahah usual cr@p idea
55pm Mon 31 Oct 11 bankhall wrote: wow so a jouney time will be cut to the time it takes now on a bus so what?? how will that create jobs ?????bizarre Get your facts right or shut up pal like) what moron ? that is a fact .Also how many people are gling to pay double the bus fares .A day return to Manchester will be approx £10.00 without a doubt plus the fares to Burnley from pendle so who would save hahahahah usual cr@p idea bankhall
  • Score: 0

10:03am Wed 2 Nov 11

Viglen says...

Can I add my congratulations too. Although its worrying "No timescale has yet been announced" and it could be in the far, far distant future that the regional growth fund comes up with the dosh. As I understand it only a couple of projects from the money announced last year have got paid out yet. That said, it can only be good news, but may I remind people there are actually three curves which make up the Tod curve, its a bit like a inwardley curving triangle, and the track laying is only a minor part of the cost, its the signalling for two way traffic on a single line that the real headache and cost. Finally, and I dont mean to sound so downbeat, I do agree it could mean the end of the excellent Witch Way X43 and X44 bus services, if all their customers decant onto the rail service. Its a fantastic service, but it does back up at through the sheer volume of traffic on the roads at peak times, which (hopefully) the trains wont. Well done, but let me see the money honey!
Can I add my congratulations too. Although its worrying "No timescale has yet been announced" and it could be in the far, far distant future that the regional growth fund comes up with the dosh. As I understand it only a couple of projects from the money announced last year have got paid out yet. That said, it can only be good news, but may I remind people there are actually three curves which make up the Tod curve, its a bit like a inwardley curving triangle, and the track laying is only a minor part of the cost, its the signalling for two way traffic on a single line that the real headache and cost. Finally, and I dont mean to sound so downbeat, I do agree it could mean the end of the excellent Witch Way X43 and X44 bus services, if all their customers decant onto the rail service. Its a fantastic service, but it does back up at through the sheer volume of traffic on the roads at peak times, which (hopefully) the trains wont. Well done, but let me see the money honey! Viglen
  • Score: 0

4:18pm Wed 2 Nov 11

ROBERTSLUMDWELLER123 says...

its just typical that GREAVES wants safty issues scrapped!!! and some of the above who want the line to Colne electrified,it is NEVERgoing to happen on a line with the speed limits allowed on the route from preston,,
its just typical that GREAVES wants safty issues scrapped!!! and some of the above who want the line to Colne electrified,it is NEVERgoing to happen on a line with the speed limits allowed on the route from preston,, ROBERTSLUMDWELLER123
  • Score: 0

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