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Consultation on trans-Pennine route modernisation

UK: Network Rail is to begin public consultation this summer on plans to rebuild and electrify a 13 km section of the trans-Pennine corridor between Manchester and York via Leeds.

The plans form part of the infrastructure manager’s £2·9bn Transpennine Upgrade programme, which is intended to modernise the route by adding capacity, partial electrification, deploying ETCS and digital traffic management tools. The work would be undertaken by the Transpire alliance of BAM Nuttall, Amey and Arup under the West of Leeds Alliance contract awarded in April 2017.

The upcoming consultation covers the 13 km between Huddersfield and Westtown near Dewsbury. NR is proposing to restore a four-track alignment, enhance and in some cases rebuild stations at Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield and Ravensthorpe, and install 25 kV 50 Hz electrification. Grade separation of a junction at Ravensthorpe is also proposed with either a flyover or dive-under.

A series of public events will take place in early September, with every residential property and business within 1 km either side of the railway to receive an invitation to the consultation. The first phase of consultation will close in late October, with a second phase to follow in spring 2020. The feedback received would help to form part of a Transport & Works Act Order submission that NR plans to make to the Secretary of State for Transport in autumn 2020. A decision on the TWAO is expected in 2022 and, if approved, work would begin immediately.

‘The Transpennine Upgrade will deliver more reliability, more trains and more seats, and shorter journey times’, said Kieran Dunkin, Principal Programme Sponsor at NR on August 20. ‘The upgrade is approaching the final stages of development, and asking passengers and our neighbours for their feedback on our plans for the section between Huddersfield and Westtown is a significant and important next step in that development process.’

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