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Todmorden Curve reopens after 40 years

The first trains in 40 years travelled on the Todmorden Curve yesterday, marking the completion of the much-delayed £10m project to provide a direct link between Manchester and Blackburn via Burnley.

The first service to use the curve was Northern Rail’s 08.18 from Blackburn.

The new section of rail provides a link between the lines from Preston to Hebden Bridge and Manchester Victoria to Leeds and removes the need for rail customers to change at Preston or Hebden Bridge, reducing journey times by up to 25 minutes between Manchester Victoria and Burnley.

It had once been hoped that services would begin in December 2013, but delays mounted, pushing the introduction back to yesterday. The track was completed in early 2014, and part of the signalling was installed allowing services to run in one direction, however work to allow trains to run in both directions was not completed until February.

There were also concerns about a lack of rolling stock to operate the services. This has now been resolved with the cascade of Class 319s and reduction in services to Bolton due to engineering works freeing up stock for other use.

The services that operated on the route yesterday consisted of two four-coach trains formed of two Class 150s coupled together, and two formed of a Class 150 and Class 142 Pacer coupled.

Terry Strickland, area director for Network Rail, said: “The reopened Todmorden Curve is a significant improvement to the railway in this part of the country and will allow services to run directly between Manchester Victoria and Burnley Manchester Road for the first time in decades.

“We have worked closely with Burnley Borough Council, Lancashire County Council and Northern Rail to make this happen and it is an excellent example of partnership working to help deliver a better railway for passengers.”

Alex Hynes, managing director for Northern Rail, added: “We are delighted to be able to celebrate this milestone in railway history with our partners. We’re committed to bringing better services, improved stations and a wealth of local opportunities to the region and this new service is a positive step in the right direction for all concerned.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Nonsuchmike   26/05/2015 at 18:07

Hallelujah!! At long last this small chord which makes such a huge difference to travel around this area to Burnley and Manchester has at last been commissioned. The miserable excuse of not having trains to run on it is just pathetic. Go out and get some (lease/buy), and train up some drivers while you are at it. If the Chinese can erect a 59 storey sky scraper in something like 70 days from scratch, I'm sure in this country we could have spent less than four years reinstating a half mile chord. Now for the Halton link near Frodsham. Please can that be dualled and maybe have a dive under/over to integrate it into a system linking North Wales with Merseyside and Liverpool and vice versa with minimal disruption to existing runnings and future frequencies? Great! You know it makes sense. B)

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