Accrington's struggling commuters, councillors, businesses and MP have all pledged their support to The Observer’s ‘Get Us Back On Track’ campaign.
We reported last week that while work on the £8.8m Todmorden Curve is set to be completed on May 12, there will no services running for seven months due to a lack of diesel trains on the market.
Almost five decades after the line was closed, the 300-metre stretch of track will soon be operational again, allowing journey times to Manchester to be halved from 90 minutes to 45.
Dozens of people gathered at Accrington station on Tuesday, April 15, to show their support for the campaign, with many branding the delay as a ‘ridiculous situation’.
Hyndburn MP Graham Jones is backing the push and said: “I fully support the Observer campaign and I will be raising this issue every week in Parliament until we get a train.”
Support has also been received from Hyndburn Council Labour leader Miles Parkinson and Conservative group leader Peter Britcliffe.
Coun Parkinson said: “We are a major corridor into Manchester and I hope we can get things moving with the campaign.”
Coun Britcliffe added: “A link like this will provide a major boost, especially at a time when the economy is picking up.”
Jim Harkness, managing director of the North Lancs Training Group, was also on board. He said: “We’re 100 per cent behind this initiative. It will give young people and adults alike the opportunity to access Greater Manchester and open up the doors to access apprenticeships further afield.”
Commuters also took to the Observer Facebook page to air their frustrations. Christopher Brindle said: ‘A regular, reliable train line would open up jobs and as a consequence bring much-needed household incomes back into Hyndburn.’ Kay Aspinall added: ‘There are jobs to be got but it’s difficult to get there as the bus takes a lot longer than the train.’
A Northern Rail spokesman said: “We are working with our industry partners to introduce trains as soon as we can.”