BRITISH transport secretary, Mr Grant Shapps, has announced an increase in government funding for the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) from £2.9bn to £9bn, which he says will enable a “gold standard” project to be delivered.

The full 92km Transpennine route from Manchester to York will be electrified and equipped with “full digital signalling,” according to the Department for Transport (DfT).

The 11km double-track section between Huddersfield and Dewsbury in West Yorkshire will be widened to four tracks, increasing capacity for passenger and freight services.

At the same time, DfT has released a further £959m from current budgets for the next phase of TRU, including completing electrification between Manchester and Stalybridge. Electric services are now expected to commence in 2025.

TRU will enable an additional two passenger services to operate every hour between Manchester and York, as well as providing one additional freight path every hour. Journey times will be cut by up to 40% and service reliability improved through the introduction of electric traction.

The upgrade is expected to reduce carbon emissions by up to 87,000 tonnes per year, and forms part of government policy to invest more resources in the economic and social development of the north of England under its “Levelling Up” strategy.

The DfT says the increase in TRU funding will also facilitate the wider Northern Powerhouse Rail investment programme, potentially doubling the number of direct construction jobs to be created from 2000 to 4000.

“We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to redesign the railways and it’s only right that we deliver this in line with the best quality technology at our disposal,” Shapps says. “By trebling the overall investment in TRU, I’m ensuring the north is at the forefront of the government’s Levelling Up agenda and guaranteeing passengers gold standard-services.”

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