£7m. upfront price tag for Todmorden Curve rail link

BURNLEY MP Kitty Ussher has received information from the Government that the cost of reinstating the Todmorden Curve is agreed to be £7m. upfront and then it will probably require some on-going subsidy at least for the first few years.

Mrs Ussher received the information in answer to a Parliamentary question. Kitty Ussher is hopeful the North West Regional Development Agency will provide the cash and has written to the Chief Executive, Steve Broomhead, to confirm their contribution.

The government funds the RDAs so they can decide whether to spend the money on schemes like this, however the Conservative Party have said they would scrap the RDAs if they were elected, she added.

The ongoing subsidy can then be provided by local partners like Burnley Council, the RDA and Lancashire County Council, all of whom are in turn funded by national government to some degree. If it goes well, central government has confirmed to Mrs Ussher they can then take over the costs directly.

She said: "This is good news as it shows people are getting down to the business of making this crucial scheme work. I call on the RDA to use the money the Government gives them to fund the reinstatement of the Todmorden Curve and to do so quickly. The best thing local people can do to help this scheme to happen is to vote Labour at the election, to give the RDAs the future they need to keep investing in Burnley."

Chris Mole (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport) said: "The Department for Transport has had recent discussions with the scheme promoters, Network Rail and Northern Rail, about the provision of a direct service between Burnley and Manchester via a reinstated curve at Todmorden. It has been confirmed that such a scheme is feasible, but would require capital funding of around 7m. for the reinstatement of the Todmorden Curve and it is most likely that on-going subsidy would be required at least in the early years.

"The promoters are aware both capital and initial on-going subsidy costs of the scheme have to be funded through local and regional funding sources. The Government provide funding to the region through the regional funding allocation so they can decide what projects should be given priority from the resources available. Once implemented, if the scheme demonstrates its success after three years then the Department for Transport would consider funding the service as part of the national rail network, subject to funds being available in the period 2014-19."

Kitty said: "I am hopeful the RDA will be able to fund this investment, and provide Burnley residents with a fast rail link to Manchester. I will release the answer I get from Steve Broomhead as soon as I receive it".