AN £8m. bid to improve Burnley’s rail links to Manchester with the reinstatement of the Todmorden Curve has been submitted to the Government.
Burnley Council bosses have joined forces with Network Rail, Lancashire County Council and Weavers’ Triangle developers Barnfield Construction to bid for cash from the regional growth fund.
The scheme would replace a 500m stretch of track not used for 40 years and cut journey times to Manchester city centre to 40 minutes.
Council chiefs also plan to use £2m. of the money to prepare for the £100m. regeneration of the Weavers’ Triangle.
Currently passengers travelling from Burnley to Manchester must change at Hebden Bridge, Blackburn or Preston, or use the Witch Way bus service. If the bid is successful, trains could be running between Burnley and Manchester by 2013.
Burnley Council leader Coun. Charlie Briggs said: “Obviously we will be lobbying very, very hard and hopefully we will be able to lobby through our MP as well and see where it gets us. I am very hopeful we will get it.
“The Weavers’ Triangle is going forward, we’ve got Barnfield on board and one or two companies eager to get involved. There’s a lot of interest so to get the Todmorden Curve coming in on the back of the Weavers’ Triangle will do Burnley the world of good. Hopefully then we can tap into the Media City at Salford Quays.”
Mayor of Burnley Coun. David Heginbotham, who has played a pivotal role in campaigning for the return of the Todmorden Curve, added: “Burnley has never been better placed for the future. What we are getting is a quality town. Quality attracts quality and quality jobs. People have been underselling Burnley for years. If you believe in something strongly enough it will happen.”
In May Network Rail recommended work to reinstate the Todmorden Curve should be carried out following a study. It is estimated it will generate £8m. a year, boosting the economy of East Lancashire.