The Todmorden Curve rail link between Burnley and Manchester brought together disco maestro Pete Waterman’s favourite things: Burnley, music and trains.
The 68-year-old hit maker behind a string of 1980s dance records by artists such as Kylie Minogue, who recorded The Locomotion, Donna Summer, Bananarama and Rick Astley was delighted to give the final green light to the new, faster service.
Faster journey times do make a difference and this will be a game changer for Burnley and ManchesterPete Waterman
He said: “Burnley is the reason why I am here. The town is one of the reasons our records were very successful.
“When we needed improved recording equipment many years ago, we went to AMS Neve in Burnley and they made it for us. I have been going back to the town and the firm ever since.
“Faster journey times do make a difference and this will be a game changer for Burnley and Manchester.
“This is a special day for me. It is the start of something big, bringing together things I really care about. I am a great fan of the town of Burnley, trains and music.”
The Todmorden Curve reopened in May, giving direct trains from Accrington and Burnley to Manchester without changing at Blackburn for the first time for half a century. With 300,000 East Lancashire to Manchester commuters predicted, yesterday’s event celebrated decades of campaigning.
At the event at Manchester’s Urbis Building, Burnley council leader Mark Townsend said: “This line will have a benefit of £8.4 million a year for the borough through increased wages and access to new labour and business markets. It shows Burnley belongs to the future.”
AMS Neve chairman Mark Crabtree said: “This line will make it easier for our customers to come to us, as Pete did.”
Northern Rail boss Alex Hynes underlined the company’s pledge to scrap Pacer trains in East Lancashire to complement the new link.