The electrification of the TransPennine rail service is to resume under plans announced today by the Department of Transport.
The Government had faced criticism for scrapping the development but today it said upgrades to the line between Stalybridge and Leeds and on to York and Selby will be completed by 2022.
The new plan will deliver faster journey times and significantly more capacity between Manchester, Leeds and York. The upgrade is expected to provide capacity for six fast or semi-fast trains per hour, take up to 15 minutes off today’s journey time between Manchester and York and be complete by 2022. When the work is finished, the whole route from Liverpool to Newcastle (via Manchester, Leeds and York) will be fully electrified and journey times will be significantly reduced compared to today’s railway.
New Northern and TransPennine rail franchise awards will be announced before the end of the year. The new franchises will deliver new train carriages and remove out-dated Pacer trains; introduce free WiFi on trains; and offer a one-third increase in capacity with 200 additional services on weekdays and Saturdays and 300 more train services on Sundays.
As a one nation Government we are making sure every part of Britain benefits from a growing economy. Connecting up the great cities of the North is at the heart of our plan to build a Northern Powerhouse. This Government will see the job through and build a better, faster and more reliable railway for passengers in the North and Midlands.
The temporary pause in the programme has given us the space to develop a better plan for passengers. People can expect more services and faster journeys. We face some difficult challenges, and there is more work still to do, but the Secretary of State’s decision means we can now move forward with our plans to electrify TransPennine and Midland Mainline”.
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