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

17/01/2017Rising to the digital demand

The countdown is well and truly on for this year’s UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA), and the whole RTM team is looking forward to welcoming you to the fourth edition of this event on 9 February.  Held once again at Battersea Evolution, the prestigious awards ceremony promises to be an extraordinary evening, celebrating some of the major achievements of the industry in the last year. You can see the awards shortlist on pages 27-29, and read more details at ukria.com. If... read more >

last word

Making rail fares simpler

Making rail fares simpler

David Sidebottom, passenger director at Transport Focus, explains how a number of initiatives over the next 12 months aim to make rail fares simpler. By the end of 2017, we hope passengers will see fairer and simpler fares.  Two recent initiatives should help achieve this.  One initiative was a response to our four-year cam... more > more last word articles >

interviews

Investing in the future of Scottish Rail

15/11/2016Investing in the future of Scottish Rail

Phil Verster, managing director of ScotRail Alliance, speaks to RTM’s Luana Salles about ... more >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Commuters close to taking government to court over Southern crisis

06/01/2017Commuters close to taking government to court over Southern crisis

A commuter organisation looking to take the DfT to court over its handling of the Southern rail crisis have said that their legal challenge is almost ready. The Association of British Commuters (ABC) hopes to submit its full application calling for a judicial review by the end of this month, after initially raising funds for the challenge... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Exhibitors prepare for France’s rail technology showcase

20/01/2017Exhibitors prepare for France’s rail technology showcase

Florence Gaidet from Mack Brooks gives RTM an update on what people can expect from SIFER 2017, France’s showcase for railway technology, p... more >
The data-driven railway

20/01/2017The data-driven railway

RTM speaks to James Dean, Network Rail’s director of route asset management (DRAM), LNW, about the work the infrastructure owner is carryin... more >
Achieving efficiency through standards

17/01/2017Achieving efficiency through standards

Vaibhav Puri, head of standards policy at the RSSB, attempts to bust the myths around standards, and argues that they will be vital to the tradin... more >
A digital railway for a modern Britain

17/01/2017A digital railway for a modern Britain

David Waboso CBE, managing director of Group Digital Railway, discusses using digital technology and how we must work together better as an indus... more >