Burnley to Manchester rail link celebrates five-year anniversary
Business leaders have hailed the impact the Burnley to Manchester direct rail service has had on the town five years on from its revival.
The reopening of the 'Todmorden Curve' rail line – four decades after its last commuter journey – has seen travel time between Burnley Manchester Road and Manchester Victoria reduced to 45 minutes.
The multi-million pound investment, developed through a partnership between Northern, Burnley Council, Network Rail and Lancashire County Council, also saw Manchester Road Station undergo improvement works.
Mark Crabtree OBE, Burnley Bondholders chairman and founder and managing director of Burnley-based AMS Neve, said the direct link had helped bring significant economic opportunities to East Lancashire.
“The reopening of the line really supported the vision we have for Burnley – to build on the innovative, resilient and entrepreneurial approach the town has. Burnley is firmly establishing itself as a place to invest, work, live and study – and the recent news that Burnley College Sixth Form has been officially named as the top college in England is evidence of that.
“The direct rail link hugely benefits the local economy and employment, not to mention making it even easier for those outside the town to visit our impressive countryside and facilities. The original £13m. investment into the reopening of the Todmorden Curve and refurbishment of Burnley Manchester Road train station has clearly paid dividends and will do for many years to come.”
Leon Calverley, managing director at digital marketing firm Door4, which relocated to Burnley from Pendle in 2017, said the town's Manchester connection had been a significant factor in his decision to move.
“I’m from Burnley so I know first hand how business-friendly the town is. When space became available at Burnley Wharf next to the canal, we immediately expressed an interest. Not only is it in a beautiful location, but it is close to Manchester Road train station and the bus station, which played an important part in our decision.
"In addition, we knew we would have access to Burnley’s larger talent pool as the town continues to solidify itself as an impressive digital hub. Being connected to Manchester provides us with the ability to do business daily in the city, whilst maintaining Burnley headquarters.”
Burnley Council chief executive Mick Cartledge added: “Every day I am impressed by the achievements the people and businesses of this town make. We have a resilient, innovative and entrepreneurial spirit and an increasing number of investors are recognising that.
"The reopening of the Todmorden Curve has built on this, providing a further boost to our local economy and employment. This improved connectivity will be vital in the long term as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. There is a real commitment by everyone to drive Burnley forward.”