Installing new track crossing at Holbeck, Leeds, via Network Rail

Festive improvements to support the Transpennine Route Upgrade

The recent festive period saw the delivery of major improvements that will accommodate the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TPU) throughout the North, readying it for the complete electrification to come.

TPU will bring passengers between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York more reliable and faster journeys, improving the experience in UK rail whilst delivering key economic and environmental benefits to the region.

As the route was closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, major works were conducted by Network Rail engineers to prepare for the full electrification of the 70-mile route in Manchester and near Neville Hill depot in Leeds. The delivery of this electrification will aid in reducing the overall carbon footprint of those traversing the route by up to 87,000 tonnes of emissions each year, estimated to be the equivalent of up 5.9 million car journeys along the same route

The two-day spell of works also saw further track upgrades through Leeds, Batley, Morley and Wakefield Kirkgate, ensuring that the annual Christmas closure was optimised for time, maximising the opportunity to conduct as many improvements as possible.

These track upgrades saw the installation of a brand-new track crossing into Holbeck depot, supporting the plethora of trains that will be using it in the future. The enhancements that were undertaken in Wakefield Kirkgate will work to boost the resilience along the line, allowing it to be used for a key diversionary route for when the core works for the Transpennine route are conducted in the future. This necessary improvement follows the recent completion of requisite signalling upgrades and the installation of a new footbridge with lifts at Castleford station in November.

During this time period, investigative works were also progressing through the railway tunnels and bridges between Huddersfield and Dewsbury. The line is set to see benefits from twice as many tracks in future, making way for the faster and more frequent services. This will maximise the efficiencies and economic benefits through rail travel within the region.

Between the 31st of December 2022 and the 2nd of January 2023, engineers continued to renew the track and prepare for the new, fully accessible station at Morley. This station is being developed to give support to the longer trains and better journeys from the TPU, receiving a multi-million-pound investment to deliver elongated platforms, a transformed track layout and overhead wires to accommodate the electric and hybrid trains of the future.

Neil Holm, Transpennine Route Upgrade Director, said:

“The multi-million-pound Transpennine Route Upgrade will completely revolutionise rail travel between regional hubs such as Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York and it is great to see all this work delivered successfully over the festive period.

“We are constantly investing in schemes which will bring a better and more reliable railway, and this package of upgrades complements hundreds of other projects delivered across the country, such as the £5.1m platform upgrade at Manchester Piccadilly and the £6m track upgrade at York.

“I’d like to thank both our passengers and communities across the route for their patience as we take one step closer to a faster, cleaner, greener and more reliable railway for passengers across the north.”

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