UK releases £589m for Transpennine main line upgrade works

23 July 2020 (Last Updated July 23rd, 2020 10:39)

The UK Government has released £589m to initiate upgrade works on the Transpennine main line between Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester.

UK releases £589m for Transpennine main line upgrade works
The funding will initiate upgrade works on the Transpennine main line between Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester. Credit: Holger Schué from Pixabay.

The UK Government has released £589m to initiate upgrade works on the Transpennine main line between Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester.

The scope of works will include increasing the number of tracks from two to four across the most congested section of the Transpennine main line and electrifying most of the route.

Other works such as the complete electrification of the line, installation of digital signalling, and improving freight capacity among others are currently under consideration.

The upgrades will help in increasing the frequency of trains on the line, boost local capacity and enable the operator to run electric train services between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, York and Newcastle.

The release of the funding was announced by the UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps. He also announced the establishment of a new Northern Transport Acceleration Council, which will work to expedite vital transport projects.

The council will comprise mayors and council leaders with the Transport Secretary as chair. It is slated to hold its first meeting in September.

Shapps said: “People across the North rightly expect action, progress and ambition and this government is determined to accelerate improvements as we invest billions to level up the region’s infrastructure.

“We are determined to build back better at pace and this new council will allow us to engage collectively and directly with elected northern leaders to build the vital projects the region is crying out for.”

Overall, the government will invest more than £600m in the northern rail network for improvement works.

Earlier, the government allocated £20m for rehabilitation works on the Tyne and Wear Metro and £15m to upgrade Horden, Darlington and Middlesbrough stations.

UK Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris recently announced that the government has received 50 bids to build or reopen rail lines and stations that were shut down during the Beeching cuts.