East Lancashire's faster train service delayed by another six months

East Lancashire's faster train service delayed by another six months

East Lancashire's faster train service delayed by another six months

First published in East Lancashire
Last updated

RAIL bosses have been accused of 'sheer incompetence' after admitting that East Lancashire's long-awaited faster train service to Manchester has been delayed by at least another six months.

Network Rail has confirmed signalling work on the Todmorden Curve will not be completed until February with the service now not starting until May next year.

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The route to Manchester will start in Blackburn and stop at Accrington and Burnley's Manchester Road station.

The service will slash rail times between Burnley and Manchester Victoria to around only 45 minutes and is expected to give the local economy a massive boost.

The latest setback follows the announcement last year that there wasn't a diesel train available for the new service to start in May and was put back until December, despite the completion of the track.

It has emerged that while signals were installed at the south-western end of the curve, allowing a new Todmorden to Manchester service to be launched, the job was not completed around the junction heading from Burnley.

Angry council bosses in Burnley have insisted that each month of delay is costing the borough's economy an estimated £1million and they have urged that 'heads must roll'.

Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle, who is demanding answers from Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin over the fresh delay, said: "All they had to do was install two sets of signals, and I went to see the first ones put in place, in January or February, and walked the line with officials.

"They told me it would be finished by April or May and there will be a riot if this is the case now. It is a complete mess by Network Rail."

Pendle peer Lord Tony Greaves had questioned government transport minister Baroness Kramer in the House of Lords over the possibility that the scheme could be delayed again.

He said: "This is shambolic incompetence on the part of Network Rail. It is ludicrous that a service that is meant to have started last Christmas is being delayed by another six months. It's just crazy.

"If this was the south-east or London, where they will spend billions on new local railway lines, we would have already had our trains.

"But because people see us as a little backwater, in the north-west and East Lancashire, then this is what happens."

Burnley Council chief executive Steve Rumbelow said: “This is completely unacceptable and to say we are angry and disappointed is an understatement.

“We are absolutely clear – this further delay is down to the sheer incompetence of Network Rail and Northern Rail.

"We expect them to deliver what they’ve been paid for. They have been paid almost £6.5 million to deliver a railway line that’s going nowhere at the moment. How ridiculous.

“We expect the Department of Transport not to simply accept excuses from Network Rail and Northern Rail but, alongside us, demand they deliver what they promised.

"The Government talks about how important economic development is – we’ve calculated that this rail link would benefit the local economy by around £12 million a year. Every month’s delay is holding our local economy back.

“We need a quality working service direct to Manchester. The residents and businesses of Pennine Lancashire deserve nothing less. We will be having further discussions with our partners as a matter of urgency.”

Council leader Coun Mark Townsend added: "I’m deeply annoyed to hear this news. The incompetence of Network Rail and Northern Rail beggars belief."

The delay has been revealed as Lancashire County Council leader Coun Jennifer Mein had approved proposals to sponsor the new route for the first three years of its operation.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The Todmorden Curve scheme is being managed by Lancashire County Council, and we are working closely with them, Northern Rail and the industry to help them secure trains so they can introduce passenger services as soon as possible.”

A spokesman for Network Rail said: “The new track for the Todmorden Curve was built earlier this year and part of the signalling required to safely operate trains on the line has been installed allowing services to run in one direction.

"To complete the final signalling stage, and allow trains to run in both directions, we need to close the line for a short period of time which will mean disrupting services and passengers.

"We have been working with Northern Rail to agree a time to do this which meets the requirements of both organisations.

"It is proposed that the signalling work is completed by February 2015 with the line open fully in time for the timetable change in May.”

A Northern Rail spokesman said they had been looking to introduce the new service ‘as soon as practically possible’.

“To enable that to happen there is some work to complete on the signalling, once this has been done, we will be able to start driver route-learning,” added the spokesman.

Comments (19)

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6:24am Tue 12 Aug 14

Excluded again says...

Wouldn't happen if Burnley was in the South East. The government ion London puts London first, second and third. Everyone else gets left behind.
Wouldn't happen if Burnley was in the South East. The government ion London puts London first, second and third. Everyone else gets left behind. Excluded again
  • Score: 36

6:26am Tue 12 Aug 14

Oldmanofthemountains says...

"To complete the final signalling stage, and allow trains to run in both directions, we need to close the line for a short period of time which will mean disrupting services and passengers."

No, get away with you! Ermm, the line WAS closed for four months between Burnley and Hebden Bridge, for the Holme Tunnel work. Why couldn't the work have been done then? And, if the work can be completed by February, why a further delay till May? Answers please!
"To complete the final signalling stage, and allow trains to run in both directions, we need to close the line for a short period of time which will mean disrupting services and passengers." No, get away with you! Ermm, the line WAS closed for four months between Burnley and Hebden Bridge, for the Holme Tunnel work. Why couldn't the work have been done then? And, if the work can be completed by February, why a further delay till May? Answers please! Oldmanofthemountains
  • Score: 35

7:45am Tue 12 Aug 14

woolywords says...

And, before all of that; trains will be delayed by leaves on the line, iced up points, signal failures, cow/sheep/kids on the line and a lack of drivers.
...
"we will be able to start driver route-learning,” added the spokesman.
Eh?
Is there more than one way to go, on a single tracked line?
Mind you, when I was driving a train once, I went too fast round a bend, derailed the train and it disappeared under the sofa, so what do I know?
And, before all of that; trains will be delayed by leaves on the line, iced up points, signal failures, cow/sheep/kids on the line and a lack of drivers. ... "we will be able to start driver route-learning,” added the spokesman. Eh? Is there more than one way to go, on a single tracked line? Mind you, when I was driving a train once, I went too fast round a bend, derailed the train and it disappeared under the sofa, so what do I know? woolywords
  • Score: 21

9:17am Tue 12 Aug 14

Noiticer says...

At last someone at the Telegraph has done their homework and come up with some real facts. What a shambles the story of the Todmoren Curve and says much about life in the UK these days.
At last someone at the Telegraph has done their homework and come up with some real facts. What a shambles the story of the Todmoren Curve and says much about life in the UK these days. Noiticer
  • Score: 18

9:17am Tue 12 Aug 14

Oldmanofthemountains says...

From what''s being said in the article, ie, things that we already know, and, basically, the absolutely bleedin' obvious, I'd hazard a guess that someone, probably at Network Rail, just plain forgot to schedule in that small piece of work. I suppose it's too much to ask, as it's up here in "the North", that the "forgotten" work be given raised priority so it gets done on time?
From what''s being said in the article, ie, things that we already know, and, basically, the absolutely bleedin' obvious, I'd hazard a guess that someone, probably at Network Rail, just plain forgot to schedule in that small piece of work. I suppose it's too much to ask, as it's up here in "the North", that the "forgotten" work be given raised priority so it gets done on time? Oldmanofthemountains
  • Score: 12

9:45am Tue 12 Aug 14

andy1 says...

Should of got a Squadron of Royal Engineer Sappers in the job would of been done in no time. You have an Engineer Regiment be it a TA unit in the area that would no doubt welcome the training.
Should of got a Squadron of Royal Engineer Sappers in the job would of been done in no time. You have an Engineer Regiment be it a TA unit in the area that would no doubt welcome the training. andy1
  • Score: 8

9:53am Tue 12 Aug 14

gazzandste says...

Just another excuse for the delays in opening the route. All the spare trains are being used in the south, so sod you northerners you will have to wait your turn for the trains. In may will it be another 6 months, lets wait and see.
Just another excuse for the delays in opening the route. All the spare trains are being used in the south, so sod you northerners you will have to wait your turn for the trains. In may will it be another 6 months, lets wait and see. gazzandste
  • Score: 12

9:58am Tue 12 Aug 14

campbell69s says...

Noiticer wrote:
At last someone at the Telegraph has done their homework and come up with some real facts. What a shambles the story of the Todmoren Curve and says much about life in the UK these days.
It's called reporting. It's what newspapers used to do in the olden days.
[quote][p][bold]Noiticer[/bold] wrote: At last someone at the Telegraph has done their homework and come up with some real facts. What a shambles the story of the Todmoren Curve and says much about life in the UK these days.[/p][/quote]It's called reporting. It's what newspapers used to do in the olden days. campbell69s
  • Score: 11

11:20am Tue 12 Aug 14

It's a spade! says...

Oh you cynics!!

Don't forget that the Multi Billion pound HS2 will benefit all us Northern numpties. Don't you know that all those Southerners are just desperate to get to Manchester 20 minutes sooner???

Never mind Scottish independence, can we have Northern English independence?
Oh you cynics!! Don't forget that the Multi Billion pound HS2 will benefit all us Northern numpties. Don't you know that all those Southerners are just desperate to get to Manchester 20 minutes sooner??? Never mind Scottish independence, can we have Northern English independence? It's a spade!
  • Score: 13

12:01pm Tue 12 Aug 14

TONY WALES says...

If you work in Manchester or Leeds and wish to travel to work.

How many cars can be parked all day at Manchester Road Station?

If you come by bus to Burnley bus station to catch the train, there are 3 or 4 buses an hour to Manchester which can get there in 1 hour.
The buses are now fitted with Wi-Fi and the cost of a monthly, or yearly ticket will be much less than a train season ticket.

So I will continue to use the bus.
If you work in Manchester or Leeds and wish to travel to work. How many cars can be parked all day at Manchester Road Station? If you come by bus to Burnley bus station to catch the train, there are 3 or 4 buses an hour to Manchester which can get there in 1 hour. The buses are now fitted with Wi-Fi and the cost of a monthly, or yearly ticket will be much less than a train season ticket. So I will continue to use the bus. TONY WALES
  • Score: 3

12:07pm Tue 12 Aug 14

Interocitor says...

This is either incompetence of the very highest order or it's a load of old BS.
This is either incompetence of the very highest order or it's a load of old BS. Interocitor
  • Score: 11

12:25pm Tue 12 Aug 14

grumpyoldlady says...

North of Watford springs to mind!
North of Watford springs to mind! grumpyoldlady
  • Score: 9

12:39pm Tue 12 Aug 14

woolywords says...

andy1 wrote:
Should of got a Squadron of Royal Engineer Sappers in the job would of been done in no time. You have an Engineer Regiment be it a TA unit in the area that would no doubt welcome the training.
Good call but it's been a while since any Sappers laid any tracks.
Back in the day, 14-18 War, their serial numbers had the prefix of WR.
To indicate that they were Waterways and Railways troopers.
Most served at Longmoor camp, Hampshire, until the late 60's.
Where they practised track laying, maintenance and operations.
Old sweats used to mistake our 35 Regt for the old 53 Coy.
...
In a far off corner of Longmoor, the SAS used to play at railway saboteurs, by either using detcord or the quieter Thermite fizzers, to cut up sections of track.
[quote][p][bold]andy1[/bold] wrote: Should of got a Squadron of Royal Engineer Sappers in the job would of been done in no time. You have an Engineer Regiment be it a TA unit in the area that would no doubt welcome the training.[/p][/quote]Good call but it's been a while since any Sappers laid any tracks. Back in the day, 14-18 War, their serial numbers had the prefix of WR. To indicate that they were Waterways and Railways troopers. Most served at Longmoor camp, Hampshire, until the late 60's. Where they practised track laying, maintenance and operations. Old sweats used to mistake our 35 Regt for the old 53 Coy. ... In a far off corner of Longmoor, the SAS used to play at railway saboteurs, by either using detcord or the quieter Thermite fizzers, to cut up sections of track. woolywords
  • Score: 6

3:03pm Tue 12 Aug 14

andy1 says...

woolywords wrote:
andy1 wrote:
Should of got a Squadron of Royal Engineer Sappers in the job would of been done in no time. You have an Engineer Regiment be it a TA unit in the area that would no doubt welcome the training.
Good call but it's been a while since any Sappers laid any tracks.
Back in the day, 14-18 War, their serial numbers had the prefix of WR.
To indicate that they were Waterways and Railways troopers.
Most served at Longmoor camp, Hampshire, until the late 60's.
Where they practised track laying, maintenance and operations.
Old sweats used to mistake our 35 Regt for the old 53 Coy.
...
In a far off corner of Longmoor, the SAS used to play at railway saboteurs, by either using detcord or the quieter Thermite fizzers, to cut up sections of track.
They maintain the Armys line from West Germany until the reunification of Germany back in the 1980s. Also laid some track a while back on the Rawtenstall/Bury line that was 202 field Squadron RE (V).
[quote][p][bold]woolywords[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]andy1[/bold] wrote: Should of got a Squadron of Royal Engineer Sappers in the job would of been done in no time. You have an Engineer Regiment be it a TA unit in the area that would no doubt welcome the training.[/p][/quote]Good call but it's been a while since any Sappers laid any tracks. Back in the day, 14-18 War, their serial numbers had the prefix of WR. To indicate that they were Waterways and Railways troopers. Most served at Longmoor camp, Hampshire, until the late 60's. Where they practised track laying, maintenance and operations. Old sweats used to mistake our 35 Regt for the old 53 Coy. ... In a far off corner of Longmoor, the SAS used to play at railway saboteurs, by either using detcord or the quieter Thermite fizzers, to cut up sections of track.[/p][/quote]They maintain the Armys line from West Germany until the reunification of Germany back in the 1980s. Also laid some track a while back on the Rawtenstall/Bury line that was 202 field Squadron RE (V). andy1
  • Score: 4

3:10pm Tue 12 Aug 14

shimmy says...

Did they not use some sort of flow chart to synchronise the installation ensuring it would come in on time? Someone pointed out that the parking at Manchester Road cannot sustain the development when they do finish it. I looked at this the other day and suggested that Tesco will be well used by commuters! Does our local MP still claim the credit for this?
Did they not use some sort of flow chart to synchronise the installation ensuring it would come in on time? Someone pointed out that the parking at Manchester Road cannot sustain the development when they do finish it. I looked at this the other day and suggested that Tesco will be well used by commuters! Does our local MP still claim the credit for this? shimmy
  • Score: 5

4:22pm Tue 12 Aug 14

hasslem hasslem says...

Excluded again wrote:
Wouldn't happen if Burnley was in the South East. The government ion London puts London first, second and third. Everyone else gets left behind.
you parochial old scrote - last time i saw manchester, leeds, liverpool and newcastle......there has been humugeous (sp?) levels of investment.

i am sure i can take you as john lydon said to the "side of london that the tourists never see".
[quote][p][bold]Excluded again[/bold] wrote: Wouldn't happen if Burnley was in the South East. The government ion London puts London first, second and third. Everyone else gets left behind.[/p][/quote]you parochial old scrote - last time i saw manchester, leeds, liverpool and newcastle......there has been humugeous (sp?) levels of investment. i am sure i can take you as john lydon said to the "side of london that the tourists never see". hasslem hasslem
  • Score: -4

5:44pm Tue 12 Aug 14

Ex-Darrener says...

If that route is setting off from Blackburn, is there any threat to the (single track) Blackburn-Bolton service via Darwen? Seems strange to have the options of heading in opposite direction out of Blackburn to get to Manchester.
If that route is setting off from Blackburn, is there any threat to the (single track) Blackburn-Bolton service via Darwen? Seems strange to have the options of heading in opposite direction out of Blackburn to get to Manchester. Ex-Darrener
  • Score: 2

8:31pm Tue 12 Aug 14

Oldmanofthemountains says...

Ex-Darrener wrote:
If that route is setting off from Blackburn, is there any threat to the (single track) Blackburn-Bolton service via Darwen? Seems strange to have the options of heading in opposite direction out of Blackburn to get to Manchester.
Yes, but don't forget, the current Manchester trains terminate at Clitheroe, not Blackburn. Also, it's not unknown for different services to leave in opposite directions for the same destination.
[quote][p][bold]Ex-Darrener[/bold] wrote: If that route is setting off from Blackburn, is there any threat to the (single track) Blackburn-Bolton service via Darwen? Seems strange to have the options of heading in opposite direction out of Blackburn to get to Manchester.[/p][/quote]Yes, but don't forget, the current Manchester trains terminate at Clitheroe, not Blackburn. Also, it's not unknown for different services to leave in opposite directions for the same destination. Oldmanofthemountains
  • Score: 4

8:54pm Tue 12 Aug 14

mark_f_3 says...

When can we expect a faster service between Clitheroe & Manchester? The sooner stations are upgraded to take longer trains, the service becomes more frequent, and new trains instead of London's cast offs are provided the better.
When can we expect a faster service between Clitheroe & Manchester? The sooner stations are upgraded to take longer trains, the service becomes more frequent, and new trains instead of London's cast offs are provided the better. mark_f_3
  • Score: 1

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