Train passengers will be forced to use ‘third world rail stock’ under new rail link plans, it has been claimed.
Former council leader Peter Britcliffe said it was ‘disgraceful’ that the new direct link between Hyndburn and Manchester will receive ‘hand-me-down’ trains.
The restoration of the Todmorden Curve link has been delayed by at least six months because of a shortage of spare diesel trains.
The £8.8m scheme was due to start in spring this year but has been pushed back to later in 2014.
Conservative group leader Coun Britcliffe told a cabinet meeting that it was a ‘sorry saga’ and passengers in Hyndburn and east Lancashire were being treated ‘diabolically’.
He said: “It seems to me, as far as Accrington is concerned, that for years we have had to put up with third world rolling stock.
“Why can’t we have new rolling stock like in the south of England? Some of the trains that are running now stink of diesel and the heating doesn’t work.”
At the same meeting, Hyndburn council leader Miles Parkinson said the track had been laid and signalling was going in soon.
He added: “We wanted rolling stock available from day one. We will continue to press for efficient stock. We don’t want any hand-me-downs.”
The completed rail line is expected to see travel times to the city halved to around 45 minutes, with commuters no longer needing to change at Blackburn or Preston.
A Northern Rail spokesman said: “We are currently in discussion with the Department for Transport on the implications of providing trains to operate on the line from December 2014.
“There are no spare diesel trains on the market at the moment. The introduction of electric trains onto newly electrified routes in the north west towards the end of 2014 and into 2015 will release some diesel trains.”
Network Rail said they are only responsible for infrastructure and that rolling stock issues and the choice of trains was not under their control.