Network Rail requests commencement of railway upgrade in West Yorkshire, UK


Network Rail has submitted a formal request along with plans to upgrade the railway line between Huddersfield and Westtown (Dewsbury) after two rounds of public and stakeholder consultations.

Due to the 13-km stretch of railway line needing new sections as part of the improvement, which is not included in the existing network, Network Rail was instructed to mandatorily submit a Transport and Works Order Act to the Secretary of State for Transport.

The planned upgrades between Huddersfield and Westtown (Dewsbury) include: major improvements to Huddersfield, Deighton and Mirfield stations, and providing a relocated station at Ravensthorpe; increasing the number of tracks from two to four; electrifying the lines to bring faster, more reliable and environment-friendly services to passengers; and building a bridge in Ravensthorpe to help reduce congestion.

This project will be part of the wider Transpennine Route Upgrade, which has been designed to improve travel between Manchester and York via Huddersfield and Leeds. Plans for the work also include methods to protect historic landmarks, as well as the heritage of the existing railway, along with the environment.

Although the Covid-19 pandemic caused the cancelling of many of the plans and events last year, the project has somehow managed to overcome starting troubles.

Network Rail Transpennine route upgrade director Neil Holm said: “We know improvements are needed on this section of the line between Huddersfield and Westtown (Dewsbury) and submitting the Transport and Works Order Act is a major milestone in the project to upgrade the route and better connect the North.

“The Covid-19 pandemic brought challenges to our extensive public and stakeholder consultation, but we continued to hold our events virtually and made the plans available online. We want to thank everyone who has provided feedback, which has been vital in shaping the plans.

“If approved, the project will bring a more reliable railway with more trains, more seats, faster journeys and more choice for passengers.”

With the successful, formal submission of the application, the decision could still take another couple of years. A positive decision will see on-site work commencing in 2023.


The 13-km stretch of railway line needs new sections as part of the improvement. Credit: Sally Wynn/Pixabay.

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