Todmorden curve: No trains until December

Blackburn Citizen: Todmorden curve: No trains until December Todmorden curve: No trains until December

A SIX-month wait for a train after the completion of a long-awaited railway line has been labelled ‘absurd’ by critics.

Work to reinstate the 500-metre Todmorden Curve is almost complete but regular rail services are not due to start until at least December because of a lack of rolling stock.

It is estimated the new line will help unlock 1,000 jobs and bring £100million investment to East Lancashire and Burnley, in particular, which was voted the most enterprising borough in the UK last year.

Burnley’s deputy council leader Coun Mark Townsend said that it is ‘highly frustrating’ that the track is in place and the station is almost ready to be opened.

He said: “It is really quite absurd that after we have been waiting years for this to happen - and we have done what could have been considered as the hard part and secured the station and track - that we are still waiting.

“We all know that the economy has now started to grow at last and we want to secure the economic benefits of that for Burnley.”

Hyndburn MP Graham Jones has investigated the lack of rolling stock with a major train leasing company and been told that all of their carriages are currently being leased.

The only fresh rolling stock is being made available - to southern franchises - which should ‘free up’ diesel trains for the north, according to a letter by Porterbrook.

Mr Jones said: “It is clear that the north is a poor cousin of the south. That the new line to Manchester will only receive a 'hand me down' diesel engine once new trains have been built and acquired for Southern Trains operating franchise.

“It's about time new rolling stock started off in the north and hand-me-downs given to London and the south.

“What message does it send to businesses and visitors to the north when they themselves can see that it is second class peripheral region as far as infrastructure and transport are concerned?”

Peter Brass, a Clitheroe newsagent and an experienced rail campaigner, said rolling stock could be found if diesel units were transferred from the Settle to Carlisle line, where they could be replaced by hiring Mark II carriages, which would be far more attractive to tourists.

He added: “This would free up the rolling stock for the Todmorden Curve and generate extra revenue for Northern Rail on the Settle to Carlisle line.”

The rail track was relaid as part of an £8.8million initiative promising a faster rail service from Blackburn, Burnley and Accrington to Manchester, and transport improvements for Burnley’s Weavers’ Triangle.

Vital strengthening works have also been undertaken for the Holme Tunnel, at Cliviger, allowing trains to run at higher speeds between Burnley and Todmorden.

Coun Townsend said that it was particularly disappointing that rolling stock had been found for expansion projects in the south.

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said: “The latest information I had was that it could be late October.

“It is just unfortunate because the station is nearly completed and the track is on scheduled to be completed.”

Earlier this year the Rail Minister Stephen Hammond confirmed that a series of developments within the rail industry would see a train provided for the East Lancashire to Manchester service.

Bosses at train operator Northern Rail have indicated that the service, which will call additionally at Rosegrove in Burnley and Church and Oswaldtwistle on Sundays, is set to start in December.

But they have insisted that there was no spare rolling stock to divert to the line before the latest switch-around.

A Network Rail spokesman said: “Owing to complications completing the final stages of signalling on the Todmorden Curve, further time is needed to complete the work.

“This will require taking possession of the railway which will mean changes to services in the area. We have worked with Northern Rail to plan for this and the possession will take place over the bank holiday weekend.

“We apologise for any inconvenience this will cause and advise passengers to check National Rail Enquiries before they travel for the latest information.”

Train users in East Lancashire are already facing major upheavals from next Monday with the introduction of new timetables.

Regular services along the Colne to Blackpool South line, through Pendle, Burnley, Hyndburn and Blackburn, will be 30 minutes earlier to accommodate new electrified trains on the Manchester to Preston route operated by Trans-Pennine Express.

Comments (13)

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9:58am Tue 13 May 14

Noiticer says...

It's just a perfect example of a country in which there isn't any strategic planning at national level and everything is left to the'Market' be it railway rolling stock, power station construction, flood defences, research and development, manufacturing etc.. The policies started by the Tories under Margaret Thatcher and continued by successive governments have left this country in a mess which is slowly but surely eating away at its fabric. There are spare loco hauled carriages in sidings which could be used on the Settle/Carlisle Line or Blackpool/Manchester routes but the Government isn't prepared to pay Northern extra subsidy to use them and loco hauled trains are expensive to hire from the private companies which own them - privately owned roling stock which is leased to the rail companies is another idiotic result of rail privatisation.
It's just a perfect example of a country in which there isn't any strategic planning at national level and everything is left to the'Market' be it railway rolling stock, power station construction, flood defences, research and development, manufacturing etc.. The policies started by the Tories under Margaret Thatcher and continued by successive governments have left this country in a mess which is slowly but surely eating away at its fabric. There are spare loco hauled carriages in sidings which could be used on the Settle/Carlisle Line or Blackpool/Manchester routes but the Government isn't prepared to pay Northern extra subsidy to use them and loco hauled trains are expensive to hire from the private companies which own them - privately owned roling stock which is leased to the rail companies is another idiotic result of rail privatisation. Noiticer
  • Score: 18

10:24am Tue 13 May 14

vicn1956 says...

Time or a change in who runs the country? The 3 parties have had long enough!
But then, millions will put them back in. Isn't repeating mistakes over and over again a form of insanity?
Time or a change in who runs the country? The 3 parties have had long enough! But then, millions will put them back in. Isn't repeating mistakes over and over again a form of insanity? vicn1956
  • Score: -2

11:37am Tue 13 May 14

mavrick says...

vicn1956 wrote:
Time or a change in who runs the country? The 3 parties have had long enough!
But then, millions will put them back in. Isn't repeating mistakes over and over again a form of insanity?
The trouble is there is no single party willing to bite the bullet and run the country for the people and not the accountants. To say we are only fit to have second hand rolling stock is an insult to the fare paying passengers and every body else in the north. Perhaps an English parliament with devolved powers to the regions would help.
[quote][p][bold]vicn1956[/bold] wrote: Time or a change in who runs the country? The 3 parties have had long enough! But then, millions will put them back in. Isn't repeating mistakes over and over again a form of insanity?[/p][/quote]The trouble is there is no single party willing to bite the bullet and run the country for the people and not the accountants. To say we are only fit to have second hand rolling stock is an insult to the fare paying passengers and every body else in the north. Perhaps an English parliament with devolved powers to the regions would help. mavrick
  • Score: 8

12:22pm Tue 13 May 14

Steven Seagull says...

RUBBISH.
RUBBISH. Steven Seagull
  • Score: -2

2:24pm Tue 13 May 14

grumpyoldlady says...

No money for new rolling stock for the north, but plenty to spare for HS2 so that business people can get to London a little quicker. Nobody is fooling me into thinking HS2 will bring economic prosperity to the north, it will simply take it south to London. The Todmorden Curve is a chance to get more people into Manchester to work and heaven knows the east Lancashire area needs these opportunities for many of the unemployed. But hey, who really listens to the views of the people of the poorer towns in this area, we just don't have any clout.
No money for new rolling stock for the north, but plenty to spare for HS2 so that business people can get to London a little quicker. Nobody is fooling me into thinking HS2 will bring economic prosperity to the north, it will simply take it south to London. The Todmorden Curve is a chance to get more people into Manchester to work and heaven knows the east Lancashire area needs these opportunities for many of the unemployed. But hey, who really listens to the views of the people of the poorer towns in this area, we just don't have any clout. grumpyoldlady
  • Score: 9

2:58pm Tue 13 May 14

Random Username says...

What an absolute disgrace. This vital link has been in the pipeline since first muted by Tony Wilson of all people over 10 years ago and the stakeholders and councils in East Lancashire have worked their backsides off to get this short bit of track restored. Think of those supporters of the Manchester football teams who will be coming to Turf Moor when the 2014/15 season starts who will not be able to take a direct train out of Victoria. Instead commuters and shoppers to and from Manchester will continue to have to rely on the X43, which despite being a good bus service is still affected by the effects of road congestion, whilst the white elephant track just sits there.
What an absolute disgrace. This vital link has been in the pipeline since first muted by Tony Wilson of all people over 10 years ago and the stakeholders and councils in East Lancashire have worked their backsides off to get this short bit of track restored. Think of those supporters of the Manchester football teams who will be coming to Turf Moor when the 2014/15 season starts who will not be able to take a direct train out of Victoria. Instead commuters and shoppers to and from Manchester will continue to have to rely on the X43, which despite being a good bus service is still affected by the effects of road congestion, whilst the white elephant track just sits there. Random Username
  • Score: 3

3:52pm Tue 13 May 14

Kevin, Colne says...

I think this calls for a piece of satire.

An entry from the Diaries of Rt. Hon. James Hacker, Minister for Administrative Affairs, dated 1 April has just been leaked to the press.

Today I met with Humphrey to discuss something called The Todmorden Curve. I didn’t know there was a curve in Todmorden but it’s a new section of railway line that re-instates a link that was removed years ago, apparently. Anyway the plan was that this would allow a new train service between Burnley and Manchester but although the track is ready the trains won’t be available until December!

I told Humphrey that I was not at all happy and that we must do something to ensure full co-ordination between track and train. Humphrey suggested taking up the curve again and then relaying it in late November. I think he was joking, but one can never be sure.

The good news is that Todmorden is north of Watford so the story is unlikely to feature on the BBC national news, and the constituencies affected have nobody in the Cabinet so that’s a relief.

Humphrey asked if he could use my ‘phone to speak briefly to Sir Julian Edwards, his counterpart in the Ministry of Transport. When he came off the ‘phone the position is worse than I believed possible. We’ll have the trains in December but won’t have any guards until next March and the drivers will not be ready until a year in August! By this time Network Rail fear that the Curve will be over-grown with weeds and so will have to be re-re-laid before it can be used. Unfortunately the capital programme for re-re-laying track in 2015/16 is full so the Curve cannot be operational again until 2016/17 at the earliest, by which time the trains will have to be sent away for re-servicing and the drivers re-trained.

I told Humphrey this was enough to drive me round the bend, or at least round the curve. Humphrey remarked that fortunately I was not the one that would be going off the rails.
I think this calls for a piece of satire. An entry from the Diaries of Rt. Hon. James Hacker, Minister for Administrative Affairs, dated 1 April has just been leaked to the press. Today I met with Humphrey to discuss something called The Todmorden Curve. I didn’t know there was a curve in Todmorden but it’s a new section of railway line that re-instates a link that was removed years ago, apparently. Anyway the plan was that this would allow a new train service between Burnley and Manchester but although the track is ready the trains won’t be available until December! I told Humphrey that I was not at all happy and that we must do something to ensure full co-ordination between track and train. Humphrey suggested taking up the curve again and then relaying it in late November. I think he was joking, but one can never be sure. The good news is that Todmorden is north of Watford so the story is unlikely to feature on the BBC national news, and the constituencies affected have nobody in the Cabinet so that’s a relief. Humphrey asked if he could use my ‘phone to speak briefly to Sir Julian Edwards, his counterpart in the Ministry of Transport. When he came off the ‘phone the position is worse than I believed possible. We’ll have the trains in December but won’t have any guards until next March and the drivers will not be ready until a year in August! By this time Network Rail fear that the Curve will be over-grown with weeds and so will have to be re-re-laid before it can be used. Unfortunately the capital programme for re-re-laying track in 2015/16 is full so the Curve cannot be operational again until 2016/17 at the earliest, by which time the trains will have to be sent away for re-servicing and the drivers re-trained. I told Humphrey this was enough to drive me round the bend, or at least round the curve. Humphrey remarked that fortunately I was not the one that would be going off the rails. Kevin, Colne
  • Score: 10

5:12pm Tue 13 May 14

moxhie says...

This is just crazy .

Welcome to 21st Century Britain !

What happened to the statement of the Government Minister , who prior to Christmas , said that he would be making a statement on this matter and that he thought "people would be pleased" by what he had to say ?

The Government and the Rail Bosses seem to have a concept of time all of their own .
This is just crazy . Welcome to 21st Century Britain ! What happened to the statement of the Government Minister , who prior to Christmas , said that he would be making a statement on this matter and that he thought "people would be pleased" by what he had to say ? The Government and the Rail Bosses seem to have a concept of time all of their own . moxhie
  • Score: 3

6:46pm Tue 13 May 14

MerlinTheVoiceofReason2 says...

The Tories ruined the railways. They will sell off the motorways next and we'll have the same shambles.
The Tories ruined the railways. They will sell off the motorways next and we'll have the same shambles. MerlinTheVoiceofReason2
  • Score: 0

7:39pm Tue 13 May 14

slants says...

It is estimated the new line will help unlock 1,000 jobs and bring £100million investment to East Lancashire and Burnley,
hahahahahha bizarre statement.
It is estimated the new line will help unlock 1,000 jobs and bring £100million investment to East Lancashire and Burnley, hahahahahha bizarre statement. slants
  • Score: 3

10:36pm Tue 13 May 14

psch says...

Just shows what the train company thinks about this route.
Did anyone think about asking the company prior to spending money on this white elephant, the shame is that there are more viable projects in the north where this money could have been used
Just shows what the train company thinks about this route. Did anyone think about asking the company prior to spending money on this white elephant, the shame is that there are more viable projects in the north where this money could have been used psch
  • Score: 0

7:08am Wed 14 May 14

Real Ale Up North says...

Usual uninformative , uneducated comments from Gordon Birtwistle . Have to say, he is such a duffer - a duffer who constantly hits the buffer!
Usual uninformative , uneducated comments from Gordon Birtwistle . Have to say, he is such a duffer - a duffer who constantly hits the buffer! Real Ale Up North
  • Score: 0

9:31am Wed 14 May 14

Noiticer says...

The Todmorden Curve project is certainly not a white elephant and will prove enormously successful when the service commences. These small improvements to the rail network are just as important as the major projects and incrementally improve the area and its people. Next on the list Electrification from Preston to Leeds and Bolton to Clitheroe, Colne-Skipton rebuilt...........??
The Todmorden Curve project is certainly not a white elephant and will prove enormously successful when the service commences. These small improvements to the rail network are just as important as the major projects and incrementally improve the area and its people. Next on the list Electrification from Preston to Leeds and Bolton to Clitheroe, Colne-Skipton rebuilt...........?? Noiticer
  • Score: 1

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