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New timetables and planned disruption

Improved connections pulling in to Lancashire stations from this weekend

08 December 2017
This weekend will see Northern introduce improved connections between East Lancashire and Preston and Manchester as part of a wider timetable enhancement.

From 10 December timetable changes will see services increase from every hour to every 30 minutes on weekdays between Blackburn and Manchester Victoria.

And services between Colne and Preston will run every hour on Sundays – up from every two hours.

Liam Sumpter, Regional Director at Northern, said: “We are just a couple of days away from timetable changes that will  offer new commuting possibilities for those in East Lancashire, and will also boost options for leisure travellers.

The changes are part of a wide-ranging modernisation programme that will also see us add more than 2,000 extra services each week by 2020.

The service enhancements will go hand-in-hand with further modernisation across the Northern network, including new and fully refurbished trains, better stations and more ways to buy tickets. Northern’s oldest trains (Pacers) will also be removed from the network – with the entire programme delivered by 2020.


Jake Berry, MP for Darwen said: “This is great news and something that we’ve been working on for some time. Darwen is a brilliant place to live, work and visit but one of the issues that people bring up with me is the need to improve connections with Manchester and Blackburn.

"Regular commuters have been very patient whilst the work was carried out but the extra services from Northern will mean a huge increase in capacity, less overcrowding and with the new carriages arriving next year, it's been worth it for everyone in Darwen.”

Andrew Stephenson, MP for Pendle, said: “The new hourly Sunday services to Preston from Colne, Nelson and Brierfield are very welcome. With the new trains and better infrastructure, we will see more people able to switch from their cars to using trains, reducing congestion on our roads.

“I warmly welcome this announcement form Northern and will continue to push for further improvements for local rail users.”

Richard Watts, Chair, Community Rail Lancashire Ltd, said: "Community Rail Lancashire Ltd (CRL) has been delighted to be involved in the development of this project.  The improvement of the service on the Clitheroe Line has been a long-standing aspiration of CRL and the Clitheroe Line Community Rail Partnership.

“This has been a partnership project with the aim of improving not just the service between Blackburn and Manchester but also the passenger facilities along the line at the same time, especially to the stations north of Blackburn but also at Darwen. The task now is to make passengers aware of the improved service and to keep on top of the station improvements.”

Liam added: “In the coming months and years our customers will see further improvements as we work to modernise our stations and facilities.

“We will also continue to improve our current fleet of trains and, from next year, will begin the introduction of 286 new, purpose built carriages. These trains will provide more space and enable us to add more than 2,000 services every week, building on the 2,500 we already operate each day.

“This is just the beginning of modernisation for our customers and there are many more exciting improvements to come on our journey to 2020.”

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