‘Revolutionary’ rail improvements in West Yorkshire given green light

An ambitious multi-billion pound rail upgrade in West Yorkshire has secured consent.

Network Rail now has the go-ahead to transform train journeys between Huddersfield and Westtown (Dewsbury) as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade.

The scheme will see twice as many tracks installed, major renovations at Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield and Ravensthorpe stations, and the track layout reimagined.

The improvements will ultimately deliver more frequent, faster trains along a cleaner, greener, more reliable railway between York and Manchester.

The Transport and Works Act Order – 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 this week six months earlier than planned.

It 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.

“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.

“Now we have this approval, we can progress our 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.”

The approval was granted following three years of planning and public consultation, considering the views of residents, rail users and other stakeholders. A public inquiry was held in November and December 2021.

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 route.”

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.”