The British Minister for Rail, Huw Merriman, has announced a GBP 3.9 billion (EUR 4.55 billion) investment into the Transpennine Route Upgrade project to support faster, more frequent and reliable rail journeys between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York.
The funding will be used to double the number of tracks from two to four between Huddersfield and Ravensthorpe, meaning faster trains can overtake slower stopping services and additional freight.
“The Transpennine Route Upgrade represents the first major step in delivering transformed east-west connectivity in the north and I’m delighted to announce this multi-billion-pound funding boost to move to the next stage of delivery,” Rail Minister Huw Merriman said.
With work already well underway on the project, the latest investment means government has invested a total of GBP 6.9 billion (EUR 8 billion) into the upgrade, with the initial GBP 3 billion (EUR 3.5 billion) funding work to deliver early benefits by the middle of the decade, such as the electrification of tracks.
Further funding for Transpennine Route Upgrade project will be confirmed by the Department for Transport as the project progresses to support the overall cost of up to GBP 11.5 billion (EUR 13.4 billion). This takes the total investment from central government above what was provided for Crossrail, reflecting the scale of what’s being delivered for northern passengers.
The project also underpins the delivery of Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR), which the government recently strengthened its support for by pledging a further GBP 12 billion (EUR 14 billion) into its delivery to better connect Liverpool and Manchester. On top of this, the government is bringing in Bradford and Hull into the NPR scheme, using savings from HS2. The new Bradford station will support regeneration efforts in the UK’s seventh-largest city and facilitate a new rail connection to Manchester via Huddersfield – almost halving journey times while enabling us to double the frequency of services and double the capacity with up to an extra 1,000 seats per hour.
Upgrades to the trains that operate along the route are in place as the need for them to be suited to modernised tracks ramps up – TransPennine Express are set to receive 29 new trains to replace their existing diesel fleet, whilst Northern await new trains for their local stopping services.
The Transpennine Route Upgrade project will deliver faster services with 76-miles (122 km) of fully electric, digital railway. Network Rail’s plans include the electrification of the whole route between Manchester and York via Huddersfield and Leeds, the installation of digital signalling system along the Transpennine route, doubling the tracks between Huddersfield and Westtown and station and accessibility improvements.
Once complete in the mid-2030s, the upgrade will offer up to 8 trains per hour, hundreds of extra seats and cut journey times between Manchester and York by 10 minutes.