Rail users could get new direct line

COMMUTERS could soon be able to travel direct from Burnley to Manchester on a new rail service via Todmorden.

The proposal forms part of Network Rail’s Initial Industry Plan to invest £5.6 billion of improvements between 2014 and 2019.

The new direct service would be a boost to commuters in the upper Calder Valley, as would the proposed direct access to Manchester Airport from the Calder Valley line.

Network Rail is also proposing to re-open the third platform at Halifax rail station and lengthen trains between Halifax and Leeds to accommodate more seating.

Coun Barry Collins, Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for economy and environment, said the news brings improved rail services a step closer.

“While it’s by no means guaranteed that the funding will be there for all of these projects, it’s good to see that the proposals are in Network Rail’s plans,” he said.

“More than a million people live close to the Calder Valley line, so it’s important that the best possible use is made of the line.

“Calderdale Council has worked hard with partner organisations and authorities to ensure that improvements to the region’s rail network and the Calder Valley line in particular are a priority.”

Other proposals include improving journey time and connectivity between Bradford and Manchester.

There are also plans for an extra train per hour in each direction between Leeds and Manchester via Bradford and Rochdale from 2019.