Rochdale is on track for a direct rail link to Manchester airport by summer 2018, following the completion of the Ordsall Chord railway line.
The chord, which links Manchester Victoria, Oxford Road and Piccadilly stations in the city centre, will introduce a direct rail link between Rochdale and Manchester Airport for the first time, with journeys expected to take just 40 minutes.
'Change will boost services from Rochdale to Manchester from 4 to 6 an hour'
As the new line passes through Manchester Piccadilly, it also means Rochdale commuters and travellers will get easier access to places like London, via the national rail network.
The change will boost services from Rochdale to and from Manchester from 4 to 6 an hour during the week, with one of the additional 2 services going direct to Manchester airport and back. Starting at Leeds, it will call in at Bradford, Rochdale, Manchester Victoria, Manchester Piccadilly and the airport.
'New service will launch in May 2018'
A new direct service from Leeds to Chester, via Rochdale, will also launch at the same time, in May 2018.
Some travellers will feel the benefit as early as this month, with the launch of a new service travelling from Rochdale direct to Manchester Oxford Road and Deansgate stations.
On Sundays, the number of services between Rochdale and Manchester Victoria will increase from one to three an hour, with 1 of the 3 going to and from the airport.
Steve Rumbelow, Chief Executive of the council, said: "We are already the best connected place in Greater Manchester and to have a direct link to a major international airport like Manchester, and a better link to the national rail network, is a massive boost for us and shows that Rochdale is a major player in the region.
"This, combined with our already extensive Metrolink network and excellent motorway links, means we're in an even better position to attract business, investment and jobs into our borough for the benefit of all our residents."
'This is a win, win for Rochdale' – Company director, Chris Gilmartin
Chris Gilmartin, director of Heywood-based Gilwood Fabricators Limited, which was set up in the borough over 50 years ago: "This is win-win for Rochdale. We've never been properly linked to the south of the country before, which is bonkers. There's been a lot of money going into the south of England, so it's good to see major national investment coming our way.
"It will make a major difference to businesses in our borough because their clients and employees will able to get to them much more easily, and it will remove cars from the roads, which will be particularly good for the borough's thriving logistics and haulage sector, which relies on the highways network."