Additional trains and reduced journey times in pipeline for Leeds station as Network Rail upgrade plans progress

Network Rail have been given the go-ahead to progress with plans to deliver railway improvements in West Yorkshire, bringing them closer to ensuring more trains pass through Leeds station.

By Tom Coates
Thursday, 30th June 2022, 4:30 pm

The secretary of state for transport has green lit a core part of the upgrade work, which involves doubling the number of tracks between Huddersfield and Westtown near Dewsbury.

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It is hoped the work will pave the way for more frequent and faster trains running on a cleaner and greener railway between York and Manchester via Leeds and Huddersfield.

Neil Holm with Hannah Lomas, the principal programme sponsor at Huddersfield station.

Improvement plans have been in development for around three years and the approval of a core part of the work has got the ball rolling on the multi-billion-pound package of upgrades.

Neil Holm, Network Rail's transpennine route upgrade director, said: "The main benefits for Leeds will be better connectivity both towards York and then on to the East Coast Main Line. then towards Manchester on to the West Coast Main Line.

"Then, what we'll see is more trains coning through Leeds. They'll be additional fast trains and an additional slow train so for people coming to Leeds and from Leeds, they'll be better connectivity.

"The transpennine rail upgrade is the largest rail enhancement for Network Rail on the conventional railway, it's a huge investment.

"It's one of the biggest infrastructure programmes in the UK now and what it will do is massively improve the level of connectivity between Manchester, Leeds and York."

There will be a full electrification from Huddersfield to Ravensthorpe and right through to Leeds, which forms part of plans to minimise the damage railways do to the environment.

Mr Holm said: "One of the reasons this is electrification when there was other schemes that were partial electrification is so that we could run full electric trains, which have a huge impact on our ability to have a carbon neutral railway.

"As part of this, we also have biodiversity targets, so we improve the environment as we work through. Electric trains don't pollute the environment and they're much quieter than diesel trains."

A new 'fly-over' will be built to separate trains to and from Wakefield from those to and from Leeds, easing congestion, and there will also be improvements made to Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield and Ravensthorpe stations.

It has been estimated that core upgrade work will be completed in the early 2030s, although it has been claimed that passengers can expect to reap the benefits of the work much earlier.

Mr Holm explained: "The core upgrade will complete in the early 2030s and then we have additional projects that will be towards the back end of the 2030s.

"That may sound a long time to everybody but what we intend to do is release progressive benefits to passengers as we complete phases of this programme so passengers will see benefits quite soon.

"I think the main thing passengers are going to see is that we are going to upgrade the stations and that will be the most visible change passengers will see on this programme."