Latest Rail News

10.06.15

TransPennine electrification ‘delayed indefinitely’

The planned TransPennine electrification due to be completed by 2018 has now been delayed indefinitely.

The postponement was unveiled after Jonathan Reynolds, Labour MP for Stalybridge and Hyde, asked the government for an update on the situation.

Andrew Jones MP, the transport minister, replied: “Network Rail has been developing the scheme to electrify the route between Manchester and York since 2011. Network Rail has recently concluded that more work will be needed than previously planned.

“This is in order to accommodate the expected growth in train services, deliver the significant improvement in journey times needed to generate economic growth, and provide the best possible performance and capacity on this line. Network Rail has been working with the Department to ensure that this work will be planned as efficiently as possible, and we cannot clarify the completion date until the planning is completed.”

The plan to electrify the line between Manchester and York was originally announced in 2011 but delays and uncertainties regarding the project had increased in recent months. RTM has been chronicling this problems.

In March the transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin MP, told the transport select committee that the slippages in TransPennine electrification were one of the reasons why the Invitation to Tender for the new Northern franchise insisted on 120 new-build diesel (or battery-powered) vehicles, not dependent on electrified infrastructure.

He also intimated that Network Rail had concluded that more upgrades are needed to the TransPennine route to cope with the level of growth in passenger journeys.

Later that month the North of England Electrification Task Force report was released, in which the Leeds-Harrogate-York rail line received classification as a tier one scheme for electrification, identifying the line as a top priority.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “Network Rail has been developing the scheme to electrify between Manchester and Leeds since 2011 and has concluded that to accommodate the growth in train services projected along the route, more work should be undertaken to track and signalling, not just to electrify the route, but to take the maximum advantage that this investment opportunity presents.

“We are now revising that scheme so it will not only deliver the advantages of an electrified railway, but will also deliver a significant improvement in journey time and see capacity improvements to realise the significant growth potential on the route and to improve the economy of the North.

“This means the original plan to deliver the electrification project by 2019 will take longer as more work is needed and the plans for the new, bigger scheme are currently underway.”

At the beginning of this year, the Network Rail project team submitted the results of a 12-week report to the Department for Transport  on journey time, capacity and performance improvements for the Northern Programme – Yorkshire, including TransPennine electrification. RTM requested to see this document under the Freedom of Information Act. The Department refused our request, saying: “On balance the public interest in withholding the information outweighs that for disclosure.”

The original scope of North Trans-Pennine Electrification (East) includes the following, according to Network Rail’s CP5 enhancements delivery plan:

25kV AC overhead electrification (OLE) and associated power supplies and distribution for the following routes, including all running lines and crossovers:

Stalybridge National Grid Feeder Station (excl.) to Copley Hill East Junction;

Neville Hill West Junction to Colton Junction;

Micklefield Junction to Selby Station;

Hambleton East Junction to Hambleton North Junction; and

Hambleton South Junction to Hambleton West Junction.

Other works will include signalling immunisation, track lowering and bridge reconstructions on the above routes to facilitate the introduction of the electrified lines.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Henry Law   10/06/2015 at 20:48

Cascaded HSTs?

Jb   12/06/2015 at 15:01

Yes, on the assumption they can operate on the route, cascaded HSTs would do very nicely. These have been a real success story since threir introduction and are far more comfortable for passengers than Voyagers or Pendolinos. However, please do not let them be shortened. The main reason for overcrowding on this route is the small number of coaches in the DMU sets. HSTs would overcome this at a stroke!

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