The public inquiry into the Network Rail (Huddersfield to Westtown (Dewsbury) Improvements) Order closed this week. The Order, which is sought under the Transport and Works Act 1992, would authorise upgrades and enhancements to the North Transpennine Route between Huddersfield to Dewsbury, including a four-tracking of the existing two-track railway, alterations and improvements to 4 stations (including the Grade I listed Huddersfield Station) and electrification of the route. The inquiry also considered the application for deemed planning permission for the works, and listed building consent for 9 assets (forming part of the existing railway) to which works will need to be undertaken to implement the enhancement works.
The scheme for which consent is sought forms part of a wider programme known as the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU): a series of railway upgrade projects between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York which will improve journey times and capacity between key destinations and to improve the overall reliability and resilience of the North Transpennine Route. The TRU now forms a key element of the Government’s preferred route for Northern Powerhouse Rail Phase 1 which incorporates the TRU as the quickest and most cost-effective route to delivering close to a 30 minute Manchester-Leeds journey time, as was made clear in the recently published Integrated Rail Plan.