SHADOW Rail Minister Lilian Greenwood toured East Lancashire’s railways stations yesterday to talk to communters as part of the campaign to improve rolling stock and train services in the area.

The shadow minister visted Accrington, Nelson, and Burnley Manchester Road stations and discussed issues including frequency of services, reliability of trains, and a lack of trains on the Todmorden Curve Hyndburn and Haslingden MP, Graham Jones, joined her in Accrington, in Nelson she was joined by Labour’s parliamentary candidate Azhar Ali, and Labour candidate Julie Cooper joined her at Manchesrer Road station.

The shadow minister was also accompanied along the way by other local rail campaigners who were gathering signatures for a the petition calling on the government to bring rolling stock trains back to East Lancashire after they were sent to the Chilterns.

The activists were also asking people to sign letters, which will be submitted to the northern franchise consultation that is currently being undertaken.

Lilian Greenwood said: “Direct rail services to Manchester will bring massive benefits to East Lancashire, but the Todmorden Curve will be a track without trains for six months – and the delay could be even longer.

“The first trains should have run in May, but despite Ministers’ previous assurances, it is now clear that they have no answers.

“It’s unacceptable that £9 million of public money has been spent but rail services are still stuck on the slow line.”

Azhar Ali said: “We want to highlight the lack of investment in East Lancashire, particularly on the Colne to Preston line.

“A service that goes every hour doesn’t encourage people to leave their cars.”

Julie Cooper said: “Economists have worked out that the Todmorden Curve will have an impact of around £12million a year on Burnley’s economy.

“That means each month that the project is delayed is costing Burnley £12million.”

Graham Jones MP said: “It's great to have the support of shadow ministers and for us to be able to get the support of local train users. We need better connectivity and better services in order for us to meet the demands of the local economy and to generate the growth and jobs people in the area need.”