Transpennine Route Upgrade could start in 2023

Network Rail will upgrade the Transpennine route between Manchester and Leeds over the next few years.

Network Rail has submitted its Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) application for the Huddersfield to Westtown (Dewsbury) section of its Transpennine Route Upgrade rail infrastructure programme.

As the improvements on the 13km stretch of the line include building new sections of railway outside of the existing network, Network Rail was required to submit a Transport and Works Order Act to the Secretary of State for Transport.

Subject to approval, the TWAO will enable railway infrastructure investment between Huddersfield and Westtown (Dewsbury), inckuding:

  • Doubling the number of tracks, from two to four, to increase capacity;
  • Major upgrades to stations at Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield and providing a relocated station at Ravensthorpe;
  • Electrifying the lines to bring environmental benefits and reduce operating costs;
  • Building a bridge in Ravensthorpe to separate the lines which run to/from Wakefield with those to/from Leeds, helping to reduce congestion and bring more reliable journeys.

This section will form part of the wider Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU), which is a long-term programme that will deliver more frequent and reliable train services along the 76-mile route from Manchester to York, via Huddersfield and Leeds.

The Huddersfield to Westtown section of the Transpennine route. (click to enlarge)

In making the TWAO submission, Network Rail was supported by Atkins, which has worked alongside the TRU West Alliance to help secure the necessary consents, environmental assessments and public and stakeholder consultation for the TWAO.

Neil Holm, Network Rail.

Neil Holm, Transpennine Route Upgrade director for Network Rail, said: “We know improvements are needed on this section of the line between Huddersfield and Westtown (Dewsbury) and submitting the Transport and Works Order Act is a major milestone in the project to upgrade the route and better connect the North.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic brought challenges to our extensive public and stakeholder consultation, but we continued to hold our events virtually and made the plans available online. We want to thank everyone who has provided feedback, which has been vital in shaping the plans.”

Ed Lacey, Atkins project director and TWAO delivery manager, added: “The delivery team for the Order has worked tirelessly over the past two years to achieve this milestone and can now rightly celebrate their efforts, with timely submission to the Department for Transport.

“The environmental surveys, impact assessments and Environmental Statement that Atkins produced are a critical component to the Order’s success which will help to unlock rail investment in the North.”

Now the application has been formally submitted, a decision is expected to be made by early 2023. If successful, work will begin on site later that year.

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