RAIL passengers in Burnley and Padiham should be given help to reach extra job opportunities outside Lancashire, says an MP.

Gordon Birtwistle, the borough’s Liberal Democrat MP, is calling on public transport bosses to consider including Rosegrove station on the Blackpool North to York route.

Regular services currently call at Accrington and Burnley Manchester Road stations, en-route to Huddersfield, Halifax, Bradford and Leeds.

But Mr Birtwistle believes that by including Rosegrove on the timetable, the route will become more accessible to passengers in Rosegrove, Lowerhouse, the Stoops Estate, Hapton and Padiham.

He is also pressing ahead with demands that the Todmoden Curve, to provide a faster rail service to Manchester, should be reinstated.

The MP said: “It is vital for the economic development of Burnley that our transport infrastructure is raised to a standard which is appropriate for a town of our stature.

“Burnley has also been deprived of a fast and direct route into Manchester for years and this situation has to change.”

Mr Birtwistle has also repeated demands for the town’s Manchester Road station to be upgraded.

Last year Network Rail officials insisted that work on Manchester Road could not begin until 2011 because of funding problems.

The MP added: “The station serves around 200,000 people every year, a figure that has increased by around 25 per cent in the last five years.

“It is therefore very important that this station has the facilities to accommodate these passengers.”