Rail Industry Focus

01.01.13

Reinstatement of the Todmorden Curve

Source: Rail Technology Magazine Dec/Jan 2013

Claire Ruth reports on progress being made on the Todmorden Curve project to allow direct Manchester to Burnley services.

Work to reinstate 500 metres of track to connect Burnley and Manchester via the Todmorden Curve for the first time in decades is pressing ahead.

The project had funding approved in October 2011, with the £8.8m development set to allow direct rail services by May 2014.

Network Rail’s scheme sponsor for the work told us: “We’re currently in GRIP stage 4, detailed design. As part of that we’re discussing the finer points of the design with railway stakeholders, seeking their approval prior to the formal process of Network Change.

“Assuming that we get that then we are still on course for commissioning December 2013/ January 2014, with the first services between Burnley and Manchester running over the chord from the May 2014 timetable. We’ve also undertaken some work to clear the vegetation / trees from the proposed alignment of the chord.”

Most of the track was removed in 1972, and regular passenger services had not run along the route since the mid-1960s.

The pressing need for the project was outlined by the bid team who managed to win £8.8m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, when they said: “The facts simply speak for themselves: nowhere else in the country is there a town of 90,000 people 23 miles from an urban centre of 2.5 million people without a direct rail link between the two. It is Reading without a direct train line into London; Warrington to Manchester; Skipton to Leeds: unimaginable for some yet a reality for train travel between Burnley and Manchester.”

Naturally, halving the journey time to around 45 minutes is seen as a significant gain for the East Lancashire community, as it will strengthen links within the area and open up new possibilities for studies, jobs and accommodation. In the current economic climate, these new links will be especially crucial for Burnley, to stimulate muchneeded growth. It is therefore not surprising that local authorities are positive about the developments, and they and local businesses say the project is also helping to ‘unlock’ a further £100m in development in the area near Burnley’s Manchester Road station known as the Weavers’ Triangle.

However, a small landslide in Cornholme along the Burnley to Todmorden line in October showed the need to tread carefully during the restoration – though it was quickly dealt with, with services resuming four hours after it was first reported.

In addition to the redevelopment of the track is the plan to revamp Manchester Road railway station in Burnley – for which the recent design has been greeted with mixed reviews by councillors.

Some people do have concerns about the Todmorden Curve initiative, suggesting that the project could isolate Burnley further as a ‘commuter town’, driving economic and social resources towards Manchester and away from where they are needed most.

Others fear the reestablishment of the line will mean the end of a busy bus service from Burnley to Manchester, Transdev’s X43 route.

But most people in the town think better transport links with Manchester can only be a good thing. Burnley’s Lib Dem MP Gordon Birtwistle, who has pushed for the project to go ahead, told RTM: “Work is ongoing on the Todmorden Curve; a new station is also being built.

“If all goes to plan the new station should be open at the start of 2014 with the first trains running January 2014.

“The benefits to Burnley and the surrounding areas will be significant. A direct train link with a travel time of 38 minutes to Manchester will increase business opportunities and grow the GPD of Burnley. The train line will open up jobs in Manchester for people living in Burnley by substantially reducing travel time whilst also opening Burnley up for investment.

“I have personally campaigned for the reopening of the Todmorden Curve for many years – long before becoming an MP – so I am incredibly excited to see Network Rail working on the lines. Having such vastly improved connectivity will really make a difference to the people of Burnley.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

JSW   19/04/2013 at 14:55

Does anybody know anything about service pattern planned over the Tod Curve? A fair prediction is that existing hourly Wigan-Rochdale stoppers will be extended north through Todmorden and round the curve to Burnley and possibly Blackburn. Is this right? And will the Tod curve trains stop intermediately between Rochdale and Tod?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

View all News

rail industry focus

View all News

editor's comment

08/05/2017All set for Railtex

As the rail industry prepares for the biggest UK rail show of the year, Railtex 2017, we have produced a specially expanded edition of RTM for you.  Our exclusive show guide, which starts on page 67, provides you with everything you need to know about the things to see, hear and do at the three-day show. A look through our preview pages will give you a good idea of which stands to visit, as well as meetings to set up.  The RTM team – as ever – will be at... read more >

last word

Collaborative working is the key to the future of rail infrastructure

Collaborative working is the key to the future of rail infrastructure

David Hawkins, operations director at the Institute for Collaborative Working (ICW), on why ISO 44001 is a new evolution in collaborative working. The launch of BS 11000 in 2010 heralded a step change in thinking for the UK rail industry led by Network Rail. Since those early days, the benefits of a structured approach to collaboration ha... more > more last word articles >

interviews

Intertrain: ready for the future

23/02/2017Intertrain: ready for the future

RTM recently attended Intertrain’s ‘Driving for Success’ event in Doncaster, ... more >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Opinion poll: HS3 must take priority over Crossrail 2

19/05/2017Opinion poll: HS3 must take priority over Crossrail 2

Fresh from their victories in the metro mayor elections earlier this month, new leaders of Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram were quick to make transport a top priority for their cities last week. In a post on Twitter, both called on the government to prioritise plans for an HS3 link connecting t... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Upskilling our workforce: how we need to think

19/05/2017Upskilling our workforce: how we need to think

Simon Rennie (pictured centre), general manager of the National Training Academy for Rail, on the importance of upskilling the current workforce ... more >
Inclusive design of ticket sales counters

17/05/2017Inclusive design of ticket sales counters

Boaz Yariv, senior architect, and Dr Elizabeth de Mello, senior ergonomics specialist at Network Rail, present the main features of the new inclu... more >
Small stations: simple changes for quick wins

17/05/2017Small stations: simple changes for quick wins

Richard Freeston-Clough of London TravelWatch explains how investing in small stations in the capital can deliver many benefits and also have a p... more >
Why are S&C layouts failing?

17/05/2017Why are S&C layouts failing?

Dr Sin Sin Hsu, programme engineering manager IP Track Development at Network Rail, analyses why switch and crossing (S&C) layouts fail prema... more >