Rail passengers travelling between the North East and Manchester stand to indirectly share the benefits of a £3.9bn Transpennine funding boost announced by Rail Minister Huw Merriman today.
The Department for Transport (DfT) said work on the Transpennine route upgrade would be accelerated, leading to quicker journey times, reduced carbon emissions and more reliable services between key northern cities.
“Once complete, the full route will offer significantly improved services between Manchester-Huddersfield-Leeds-York with rail users benefiting from a fully-electrified line, accessible stations and more frequent services,” said the DfT
“With work already well underway on the project, today’s announcement means government has invested a total of £6.9bn into the upgrade, with the initial £3bn funding work to deliver early benefits by the middle of the decade, such as the electrification of tracks.
“Further funding will be confirmed by the DfT as the project progresses to support the overall cost of up to £11.5bn. This takes the total investment from central government above what was provided for Crossrail, reflecting the scale of what’s being delivered for northern passengers.”
“The Transpennine route upgrade represents the first major step in delivering transformed east-west connectivity in the north and I’m delighted to announce this multi-billion-pound funding boost to move to the next stage of delivery. Today’s announcement demonstrates this government’s commitment to delivering its Network North plan which will improve journeys, help to level up regions and grow the economy.”
Once complete in the mid-2030s, said the DfT, the upgrade would offer up to eight trains per hour, hundreds of extra seats and cut journey times between Manchester and York by ten minutes. The investment would also support digital signalling along the route to allow trains to run closer together, leading to more frequent and reliable services.
The DfT added that the continued support for the Transpennine route upgrade underpinned the government’s Network North plan, a £36bn long-term scheme to improve the country’s transport in the north and Midlands across roads, buses and railways, through unprecedented levels of investment.
*This report is based on a DfT press release.