A RAILWAY station is to be transformed, paving the way for much faster transport links from Burnley to Manchester.

The improvements, which could cost up to £2M, anticipate an a “significant increase” in passengers at the Manchester Road station, already the busiest in the town.

It will get a manned ticket office, new canopies and passenger shelters, an improved entrance and an additional 49 car parking spaces.

Planning permission now been granted for the scheme, which is funded by the borough and county councils and various rail bodies.

The redevelopment of the station was seen as essential ahead of the implementation of the Todmorden Curve railway improvements, which will see travel times to Manchester cut from 1 hour 10 minutes to 53 minutes.

Preparatory work has already started, including the demolition of buildings connected to a former dairy distribution depot and clearing overgrown vegetation.

The station was originally built in the current location at Manchester Road in 1886, it closed in 1961 but re-opened in 1986.

The site was purchased by Burnley Council and Lancashire County Council in November 2011 with the aim of bringing the building back into rail use.

Councillor Roger Frost, Executive Member for Regeneration & Economic Development, said: “Now planning permission has been granted, it’s full steam ahead to transform the station, which will accommodate the forecasted increase in passenger numbers when the Todmorden curve is reopened and the University Technical College opens.

“For some passengers it can be the first impression they get of a town, and with the transformations underway in Burnley, with new schools, college and universities, it is important that visitors arriving, or passing through see the ‘new’ modern, changing Burnley.”