Hyndburn council has written to the government calling for stops at Rishton and Huncoat to be added to the new direct rail link to Manchester.
Leader Miles Parkinson has sent a letter to Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin MP, saying that up to 25,000 people are being ‘potentially denied access’ to the service.
He has also requested that trains can travel directly from East Lancashire to Manchester Airport once the Ordsall Curve – a chord connecting Manchester Piccadilly and Victoria stations – is completed by 2018.
The Observer reported in March that the council unanimously backed a motion calling on the transport minister to include the two borough stops as ‘selected stations’.
Rishton councillor Harry Grayson said it was ‘quite unbelievable’ that Rishton and Huncoat had not been included when Accrington and Church and Oswaldtwistle stations had been.
The direct service to Manchester opened to the public last month after more than 40 years.
The commute, which takes just over one hour, is now possible after the reinstatement of 500m of rail track known as the Todmorden Curve.
Coun Parkinson said they have ‘unanimous support from all political parties’ in Hyndburn for the extra stops and direct airport request.
In the letter, he said: “The successful link of the direct train from East Lancashire to Manchester Airport will have a significant impact on Hyndburn’s infrastructure and will provide an additional economic benefit and social mobility injection into the area.
“We ask that steps are taken to review this matter, so that the area can benefit immediately on the opening of the Ordsall Curve.
“The motion also debated the point of stations missing in Hyndburn on the commencement of the direct service from East Lancashire to Manchester Victoria via the restored Todmorden Curve.
“The service does not stop at Rishton and Huncoat, potentially denying access to the service for around 25,000 Hyndburn residents who live less than five minutes from these stations.
“Could the viability of adding these two stops to the service be reviewed, even if it is on the basis that initially they become request stops or only a limited number of trains call at them throughout the day?”
Have you used the new link? What do you think of the service and the bid to extend it to Rishton and Huncoat? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.