Property company Barnfield has joined with Network Rail and Burnley Council to submit a bid for £8m from the Regional Growth Fund to pay for the reopening of a key rail link between east Lancashire and Manchester.
In May, Network Rail said it had completed a detailed feasibility study and that services could be running again on the line between Burnley and Manchester by2014.
The 500-metre stretch of track has not been used since the 1960s. Reopening the track would cut journey times between east Lancashire and Manchester to 40 minutes. Passengers travelling today must change at Hebden Bridge, Blackburn, Preston, or use the Witch Way bus service, all of which take in excess of one hour.
The project is backed by members of Burnley Bondholders, a consortium of 50 businesses from the Burnley area that has been successfully working to transform perceptions of the town and to encourage inward investment.
Confirmation of the bid was made at the Burnley Business & Innovation Awards 2011 ceremony held on Thursday night at Towneley Hall.
Among the winners were Paul Dawson, managing director of Anvic Developments, with a special award for his long-standing contribution to business in the area. Usha Indian Restaurant was named visitor economy business of the year and Crow Wood Leisure equestrian centre won the environmental and sustainability award.
The awards were organised by Burnley Council and attended by more than 400 people.