Burnley prepares station for Todmorden Curve

Burnley and Lancashire councils have applied for planning permission to redevelop Manchester Road Railway Station in advance of the reopened rail link to Manchester.

The councils are working with the East Lancashire Community Rail Partnership, Northern Rail and Network Rail and have applied for funding from the European Regional Development Fund's transport programme Interreg IV B. A spokesman for Burnley Council said the ERDF application has been conditionally approved with full approval expected within two months.

A bid for £8.8m from the government's Regional Growth Fund last year was successful and will pay for the line to be reopened.

The Todmorden Curve railway improvements will see travel times to Manchester halved from one hour and 45 minutes to 53 minutes.

The station plans include refurbishment of the former railway station building, manned ticket facilities, new canopies and shelters, an office for East Lancashire Community Rail Partnership and the Northern Rail Community Ambassadors and improved car parking, cycle provision and pedestrian entrance.

Work has already started at the station, with some initial enabling works including the demolition of extensions relating to the former use a dairy distribution depot and the clearance of vegetation.

The station was originally built in the current location at Manchester Road in 1886. This station was, in turn, closed on 6 November 1961 and subsequently re-opened on 29 September 1986. By the time it was re-opened, the station building, the majority of which still exists, had been sold out of railway use for use as a dairy storage and distribution facility. 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.

Cllr Roger Frost, executive member for regeneration and economic development, said: "Rail travel grew by 4.8% in 2011, with more and more people choosing to travel by train, despite difficult economic times. To accommodate this growth it is important Burnley creates welcoming stations able to accommodate an increase in passenger numbers.

"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.

"Work is due to commence on the new University Technical College later this year, which will have a major impact on the Manchester Road station with a number of students coming into Burnley from across the region by rail."

SBS Architects and engineering consultants Hyder designed the station redevelopment.

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