UK: Major Rail Upgrades Approved for West Yorkshire

The Secretary of State for Transport has approved Network Rail’s plans to carry out multi-billion-pound rail upgrades in West Yorkshire, following the submission of a Transport and Works Act Order.

The improvements are set to transform rail journeys between Huddersfield and Westtown (Dewsbury) as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade, which will deliver a faster, greener and better-connected rail network for passengers in the North of England. Network Rail states that this approval is the biggest milestone the Transpennine Route Upgrade has achieved to date.

Throughout the project, the current track layout will be reimagined and twice as many tracks will be installed along the route. Major renovations will also be completed at Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield and Ravensthorpe stations.

West Yorkshire Rail
Network Rail has released aerial flyover footage to depict the improvements

This work will support economic growth in West Yorkshire and will deliver more frequent, faster rail services along a more sustainable and reliable line between York and Manchester.

Neil Holm, Transpennine Route Upgrade Director for Network Rail, said:

“This is a massive success for the Transpennine Route Upgrade. It brings us another step closer to delivering faster, more frequent trains, and a greener, more reliable railway for passengers. Work on this part of the route is essential for unlocking wider benefits for passengers travelling between York and Manchester via Leeds and Huddersfield. It’ll allow us to run more trains along the route, giving passengers a much better chance of finding a seat and enjoying their journey.”

A Transport and Works Act Order is required for any project that involves building new sections of railway outside existing boundaries. Network Rail’s application to carry out the multi-billion-pound rail upgrades in West Yorkshire was approved by the Secretary of State for Transport on 27 June 2022, following three years of planning and public consultation. It is one of the biggest applications ever made by Network Rail.

Chris Nutton, Major Projects Director for TransPennine Express, said:

“This announcement is a massive step forward towards delivering a railway fit for the 21st century across the North of England, which will provide real benefits for those that use our services and travel between some of our country’s biggest cities. The upgrade will not only improve connectivity for the communities that we serve, but also boost the economies of the towns and cities along the Transpennine route, providing greener, faster and more reliable services across the Pennines.”

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