Extra tracks and digital signalling work to get underway following latest tranche of funding

The government has announced a £3.9bn funding boost for the project to upgrade the notoriously slow railway between Manchester and York.

Two of the largest projects on the Transpennine Route Upgrade will move from design to construction following the latest cash injection for the improvements, which are estimated to have an overall cost of £11.5bn.

Bam, Amey and Arup are already working with Network Rail on the scheme, which aims to provide quicker journey times, reduced carbon emissions and more reliable services between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York.


Source: Network Rail

An artist’s impression of new Ravensthorpe viaduct

The upgrades, scheduled to complete in the mid-2030s, will offer eight trains per hour, hundreds of extra seats and fully electrified lines on the route.

The Department for Transport’s (DfT) latest round of funding, which follows £3bn already invested, will see work start on doubling the number of tracks between Huddersfield and Ravensthorpe to allow faster trains to overtake slower stopping services and freight journeys.

It will also support digital signalling along the route to allow trains to run closer together, leading to more frequent and reliable services, the DfT, said.

Neil Holm, managing director for the Transpennine Route Upgrade, said the funding “brings us one big step closer to delivering the future of rail travel in the North of England”.

Darren Oldham, Transport for the North’s (TfN) director of rail and road added: “This is a major milestone for the TRU project as it upgrades a key rail corridor across the North, bringing improvements for passengers and extra capacity for freight. 

“TfN has been working with partners for some years to bring forward these benefits, which will lay the foundations for further transformational development from Northern Powerhouse Rail.”

The upgrades also underpin work for the future Northern Powerhouse Rail linking northern cities, which will now include Bradford and Hull using savings from the cancelled northern leg of HS2.

A new station at Bradford, one of the UK’s worst-connected cities, will create a new rail connection between Manchester via Huddersfield, almost halving journey times and doubling the frequency of services.