A major project has begun to regenerate a Burnley railway station.
The £2.3m. transformation of the town’s Manchester Road Station has officially started.
Work to build the state-of-the-art station is part of plans to reinstate the rail link between East Lancashire and Manchester.
As the redevelopment of the station takes shape, work is steaming ahead to reinstate the Todmorden Curve which was last used during the 1960s.
The link will cut journey times to Manchester by half to around 50 minutes.
The town’s leaders say redeveloping Manchester Road Station is a top priority and crucial in transforming the borough’s economic prospects.
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said: “It has been a project that has been going on for the best part of two decades trying to get this train link with Manchester and now it is finally happening.
“It is great to be getting a brand new station but Manchester is the economic powerhouse of the North of England and to get a rail connection to the town will be a huge boost to businesses and the Burnley economy.”
Council Leader Julie Cooper added: “It is an exciting day for Burnley. It has been long-awaited and a lot of work has gone into it over many years.
“It is a key development for Burnley’s future prosperity – links with the economic centre of Manchester are vital for growth, jobs and the growth of business and industry in town.
“It will be a real gateway to the town.”
Hopes are the station will be finished in March next year ahead of the completion of the Todmorden Curve.
Lancashire County Council is now urging the Government to press ahead with plans to hand powers to manage rail franchises to local councils in the north of England.
In a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport supporting the proposals, the council said locally managed rail could boost the economy, and highlighted how Lancashire authorities are already working successfully with the industry.
County Coun. John Fillis, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Councils in Lancashire are already working with the rail industry to deliver this kind of improvement, such as with the reinstatement of the Todmorden Curve to improve links between Manchester and Burnley, and we’re well placed to take on greater powers.”