On 21st April 2015 the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership formally signed off the funding for the works to enhance the rail route between Blackburn and Bolton.
The Lancashire LEP Board has now formally granted a significant sum of money from the 2015/16 Local Growth Fund to deliver the necessary infrastructure works at Darwen to facilitate the improved service frequency to Manchester from Blackburn.
£12.4m of Local Growth Funding plus a further £1.3m of local authority funding will now enable Network Rail to extend the Darwen passing loop this summer in order to support the introduction of a robust half hourly all day service between Blackburn and Manchester as part of the next Northern Franchise.
The next Northern franchise Invitation to Tender document confirms that the additional off peak service between Blackburn and Manchester is included in the base line Train Service Requirement specification. It is shown in the TSR from December 2017 onwards but it is hoped that the successful bidder will operate this earlier, train resources permitting.