TRAIN bosses can see daylight now on the £6.8million project to restore a vital rail link to Manchester from Burnley.

Work is progressing apace on the long-awaited Todmorden Curve initiative, which will dramatically slash journey times from the town’s Manchester Road station to the city.

Four decades of vegetation has been removed from the track bed, between Stansfield Hall and the main Todmorden-Hebden Bridge line.

The 500-metre stretch will offer a switchback facility so Manchester-bound passengers no longer have to change trains at Hebden Bridge, or head to the city via Blackburn.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “So far we have completed detailed topographical surveys and the design process has started.

“Full de-vegetation has been completed along the new route of the curve, including removal of tree roots.

“Driver training is scheduled to start early in 2014, with the first passengers services running from May.”

New signalling will be installed, as well as adaptions to the existing framework, and extra strengthening will be needed for the Stansfield Hall viaduct.

Regular passenger services have not run along the route since the mid-1960s and most of the track was removed in 1972.

Only a small section was left, near the junction, to house engineering trains.

Major improvements are also pencilled in for Manchester Road station as part of the same works, including the restitution of the main building.