Fury has greeted the announcement that a direct train link from Accrington to Manchester will lie unused for seven months - because there are no trains to run on it.
Long-awaited work to restore the £8.8 million Todmorden Curve is set to be completed next month, but rail bosses have confirmed there will be no services running until December due to a lack of diesel trains on the market.
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones has described the situation as ‘ridiculous’ and has said that he will raise the issue every week in Parliament until the government remedies the situation.
He said: “I have campaigned for six or seven years on this issue.
“It never crossed my mind that a government would be as incompetent as to build a line but not provide trains.
“People in East Lancashire are being treated badly by this government. Well paid jobs exist in Manchester.
“Does the government think that East Lancashire can be forgotten and abandoned?
“I am going to raise this issue every week until we get a train because this is ridiculous.”
When fully operational the link, which will join lines from Burnley to Manchester, will cut journey times by 45 minutes.
Northern Rail which will operate the route between Accrington and Manchester, said the introduction of electric trains on other routes in the North West towards the end of year would release stock for the route.
In a letter seen by the Observer, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport Stephen Hammond responded to the MP’s concerns, saying the government will be working with train operators to reach a solution.
He said: “While the department is clear that we expect the train operators and the rolling stock companies ultimately to resolve this issue, we are working with them on a number of possible solutions.
We recognise your concerns that there are not currently trains operating on this line and are confident that we will shortly reach agreement on a solution whereby electric rolling stock will operate some service between Liverpool and Manchester from December.
“This would enable diesel trains to be released to address capacity issues for passengers of the Todmorden Curve.”