There has been an 180% increase in the sale of tickets originating in East Lancashire for passengers heading to Manchester in the past year since the Todmorden Curve reopened to enable direct trains into the city.
Passengers previously had to change in Hebden Bridge and catch the Leeds train into Manchester. European and Government funds, along with Network Rail and Lancashire County Council cash, funded the engineering and construction works to reopen the Todmorden Curve in May 2015; the 500-metre stretch of line had closed in 1972.
There are now a total of 34 new services crossing the curve every day, 17 services each way to and from Manchester Victoria and Blackburn. Craig Harrop, client and stakeholder manager, Northern, said: “The new direct service has significantly improved journey times to Manchester from Burnley, Accrington and East Lancashire and is a vital catalyst for jobs, economic growth and the visitor economy.
“The journey time from Burnley is now 52 minutes and 63 minutes from Accrington, bringing huge benefits for thousands of local people travelling to and from Manchester every day.
“The benefits of the Todmorden curve have resulted in a 180% increase in the market for tickets with origins or destinations crossing the curve infrastructure. Rail travel from Burnley and Accrington has shown particularly strong growth, highlighting the economic benefit and opportunities unlocked by the Todmorden Curve infrastructure investment.
“The Todmorden curve infrastructure investment is the first stage of infrastructure enhancements that will form part of a longer term aim to improve connectivity between East Lancashire and Manchester. Current works as a part of the Calder Valley upgrade will further support the objective by reducing journey times.”
On the morning of the one-year anniversary of the first commuter train on the Todmorden Curve for 40 years, passengers at Burnley Manchester Road Station were given free coffee, pastries and entertained by singer Wayne Farrow. Philip Hartley, a commuter, said: “I’m travelling to Manchester Victoria Station today. My wife and I work in Manchester city centre and the opening of the train line meant that we could move to the foothills of Pendle Hill, from our previous home in South Manchester, as we knew commuting would be an option. We get the train once or twice a week, just to give ourselves a break.”