Northern Rail's new service from East Lancashire into Manchester Victoria will begin on Sunday 17 May with journey times of under an hour.
Burnley Council, Network Rail, Lancashire County Council and Northern Rail have spent a decade planning the work. The reopening after a 40-year absence of the 500-metre Todmorden Curve to allow direct services was funded with an £8.8m grant from the Regional Growth Fund awarded in October 2011.
The new services will start in Blackburn and terminate at Salford Crescent, next to Salford University, passing through Salford Central near Spinningfields and Manchester Victoria for the rest of the city centre. Blackburn and other stations on the route apart from Burnley and Accrington already have direct services to Manchester.
Burnley Council and partners hope the service will make the town attractive to commuters into Manchester. House prices are cheaper in Burnley than many similarly semi-rural commuter towns around Manchester including Marple, Macclesfield and Glossop. The Pennine town has also seen a steady wave of developments in the past decade including Weavers Triangle, a mixed-use project on the Leeds-Liverpool Canal by Barnfield, the Burnley Bridge business park developed by Eshton and Addington Capital's £3m revamp of Charter Walk Shopping Centre.
Amber Corns, place brand manager at Burnley Council, said: "Services commence on 17 May and we are launching the first commuter services on Monday 18 May with free coffee, muffins and giveaways. Journey times are reduced to just 52 minutes Burnley-Manchester, and 63 minutes Accrington-Manchester, with a seven-day hourly service."