RailStaff

Transport Secretary boosts investment for rail in the North to over £9 billion

Passengers in the North are set to benefit after the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps more than trebled the investment for TransPennine route upgrades (TRU). The increased spending should cut journey times and reduce carbon emissions by up to 87,000 tonnes per year.

The funding, which has been expanded from £2.9 billion to more than £9 billion, is set to strengthen TRU and Northern Powerhouse Rail. The full route will be fitted with the latest technology, from complete electrification and full digital signalling, to increased capacity along the route for passenger and freight services between Huddersfield and Westtown in Dewsbury, doubling tracks from 2 to 4.

A further £959 million of funding has been released to progress the next phase of TRU between Manchester and York. The money will be spent on the remaining electrification of the railway between Stalybridge and Manchester and unlocking shorter journey times and trans-Pennine rail freight flows, with electric trains between Manchester and Stalybridge expected to hit the tracks around the middle of the decade.

Funding will also facilitate Northern Powerhouse Rail potentially doubling the amount of direct construction jobs from 2,000 to up to 4,000, taking thousands of lorries off our roads and delivering better journeys, sooner for passengers across the north.

Shapps said: “Through our record-breaking integrated rail plan, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to redesign the railways and it’s only right that we deliver this in line with the best quality technology at our disposal.

“By trebling the overall investment in the TRU, I’m ensuring the north is at the forefront of the government’s Levelling Up agenda and guaranteeing passengers gold standard services set to deliver greener, faster and reliable services through Northern Powerhouse Rail, electrification and additional train tracks.”

Once complete, the TRU is expected to deliver multiple benefits, delivering an extra two passenger trains every hour and additional hourly freight slots. Upgrades are expected to service more reliable journeys and slash journey times by up to 40%. Northern Powerhouse Rail will be fully electrified, improving the local environment and air quality across the north.

The TransPennine route upgrade, announced in November 2021 as part of the integrated rail plan, will be hitting the tracks from 2025 − boosting economic growth and creating local skilled jobs.

Image credit: istockphoto.com

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