The Todmorden Curve railway section in the UK has reopened after a £10m investment from Burnley Borough Council, Network Rail and Lancashire County Council.
The line reopened for the first time in more than 40 years, providing a direct link between Manchester and Burnley.
The train service started on 17 May, while the first commuter service began with the Northern Rail’s 0818 from Blackburn on 18 May.
The new 300m-long section provides a vital link between the lines from Preston to Hebden Bridge and Manchester Victoria to Leeds.
With the reopening of the rail line, passengers will no longer have to change at Hebden Bridge in Yorkshire on journeys between Burnley and Manchester.
Network Rail area director Terry Strickland said: "The reopened Todmorden Curve is a significant improvement to the railway in this part of the country and will allow services to run directly between Manchester Victoria and Burnley Manchester Road for the first time in decades.
"We have worked closely with Burnley Borough Council, Lancashire County Council and Northern Rail to make this happen and it is an excellent example of partnership working to help deliver a better railway for passengers."
The new section also reducing journey times by up to 25min between Manchester Victoria and Burnley.
Northern Rail managing director Alex Hynes said: "We’re committed to bringing better services, improved stations and a wealth of local opportunities to the region and this new service is a positive step in the right direction for all concerned."
Image: One of the first trains to use the completed Todmorden Curve. Photo: courtesy of Network Rail.