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Green light for major Transpennine improvements

Improvements on the Transpennine route in West Yorkshire have been given the green light, after a Transport and Works Act order was signed by the transport secretary on 27 June, six months earlier than planned.

The cost of the upgrades was described as ‘multi-billion’ by Network Rail, which said it was the ‘biggest milestone’ so far on the Transpennine Route Upgrade programme.

The improvements will be carried out between Huddersfield and Westtown in Dewsbury, and include quadrupling the double line and remodelling track layouts as well as major renovations at Huddersfield, Deighton and Mirfield and a new station at Ravensthorpe. In addition, there will be a flyover near Ravensthorpe to separate the Wakefield and Leeds lines and reduce conflicting movements.

A Transport and Works Act Order was needed because the scheme will use some land which is presently outside the railway boundaries, and Network Rail said it was one of the biggest planning applications it had ever made.

Network Rail’s Transpennine Route Upgrade director Neil Holm said: ‘This is a massive success. 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.’

TransPennine Express major projects director Chris Nutton added: ‘This announcement is a massive step forward, which will provide real benefits for those that use our services and travel between some of our country’s biggest cities.’

Transport minister Andrew Stephenson said: ‘Last year we committed a record breaking £96 billion 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.’

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

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