Approval has been given for a multi-billion-pound rail upgrade of railways in West Yorkshire.
The mammoth scheme will see the track layout rationalised, doubling the tracks, and major renovations to Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield stations, and a new station at Ravensthorpe. A flyover near Ravensthorpe will separate the lines running to/from Wakefield from those to/from Leeds to help reduce congestion.
These major improvements will ultimately deliver more frequent, faster trains along with a cleaner, greener, and more reliable railway between York and Manchester.
The Transport and Works Act Order, which is required for any project that involves building new sections of railway outside of the existing boundaries, was approved by the Secretary of State for Transport on Monday, 27th June, six months earlier than planned, and is one of the biggest applications ever made by Network Rail.
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.
“I’d like to thank everybody who has shown support and provided feedback on our plans throughout the planning process. Now we have this approval, we can progress our ambitious plans and designs and continue to work with communities on what’s to come.”
Transport Minister, Andrew Stephenson, said: “Last year we committed a record-breaking £96bn to transform the railway, bringing communities together and boosting local economies in the North and Midlands through Northern Powerhouse Rail and the TransPennine Route Upgrade.
“We will continue to deliver on our promise of more frequent, faster and greener travel for passengers.”
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.”
Tony Baxter, Regional Director (East), at Northern Trains, said: “This is a significant milestone and a huge vote of confidence for the ambitious plans which will benefit Northern customers, not just along the Transpennine route, but across the entire Northern network.
“This work is the key to unlocking the huge potential for our trains and stations to better serve our communities. With faster, more frequent trains and more accessible, easier to use facilities at stations, our customers will benefit from supercharged connectivity between towns and cities across the Pennines, and beyond.”