Posted 16th December 2011 | 10 Comments

Electrification: Leeds-York is in, and more could follow

Image of overhead lines

Manchester to York now appears to be confirmed, and other routes in the north east could follow

MORE than two weeks of speculation have ended with confirmation from the Department for Transport that the 'North TransPennine' electrification scheme mentioned in the Chancellor's autumn statement does cover Manchester to York, rather than stopping at Leeds.

But it's now been revealed that the wires could be set to run much further, subject to satisfactory business cases, and cover more routes, including those to Hull and Middlesbrough.

There has been a debate within the industry about the implications of the announcements by the Chancellor just over two weeks ago, with some reports saying that the Leeds to York section was included, and others pointing to official documents which apparently ruled it out, including the Treasury's own National Infrastructure Plan.

The first official indication that Leeds to York was part of the scheme came from transport secretary Justine Greening, when she gave evidence to the House of Commons Transport Committee two days ago.

In answer to a question about electrification from York Outer MP, Conservative Julian Sturdy, Ms Greening started to answer, and then appeared to correct herself.

"It's a route between Manchester and Leeds – Manchester and York via Leeds," she said.

Mr Sturdy commented: "There was a bit of confusion over that, so that's good to hear."

In answer to a further question, Ms Greening said she expected that the scheme would be carried out between 2016 and 2018.

The scheme as it now stands covers two crucial sections. One is from Guide Bridge West Junction, just east of Manchester, via Huddersfield to Copley Hill East Junction, on the edge of the existing Leeds electrified area.

From the other side of Leeds, the wires would be installed from Neville West Junction to Colton Junction, which is south of York on the already-electrified East Coast Main Line.

Electrifying both these sections will provide a continuously electrified route from the Scottish central belt to Liverpool, via Newcastle, York, Leeds and Manchester.

But a new statement from the Department for Transport issued today says that more routes are also being examined as potential candidates for electrification.

The DfT said: 'We have given the go-ahead, subject to the business case being confirmed, to Network Rail to electrify the north-Trans Pennine route between Manchester and York via Leeds. This will enable both local and long distance passenger services, and freight trains using this route to be operated by electric trains once the work has been completed.

'We have asked Network Rail to look at the case for electrification between Leeds and Hull, York and Scarborough and Northallerton and Middlesbrough. We will use this information to inform a further announcement about schemes in July 2012.'

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • John Gilbert, Cradley, England

    I thought that the extra wiring from Leeds to (now) York - thank goodness - was to alleviate financial problems created by the current economic situation. The chancellor seemed to make this clear when he actually announced this scheme in his Autumn Statement, adding at that time that, "Work will start next year". It's just that I cannot see how a scheme which - so we are NOW told - will not start until 2015 can help our CURRENT economic situation. Call me crazy but his logic seems utterly crazy!!! Or is he trying to pull the wool over our eyes? [I don't think that is any longer possible; we all know that the Civil Servants anhd Politicians can NEVER be trusted!!]

  • Leslie burge, leicester, england

    Hurry up and get on with electrification countrywide.
    1 It will bring consistent employment for a number of dedicated staff for a number of years.
    2 a regular supply for overhead line manufacturers
    3 A Greener Environment
    4 Faster services
    5 more Diversionary routes for both Freight and passengers

    Its win win all the way

  • MikeB, Liverpool

    The Government have recently sanctioned Network Rail's acquisition of a £35m factory train from German suppliers, so we can probably expect announcements of further electrification schemes over the next year or two. Otherwise, such a costly purchase would indeed be a complete waste of money.

  • Raymond Parry, Birmingham

    With regard to Scarborough and Middlesbrough services might these be more economically served by converting the existing DMUs to bimode in a similar way to that being suggested for Voyagers. This would also go some way to relieving the oversrowding on these services and allow for diversions over non electrified routes. Alternatively, if the franchise map is being reconsidered perhaps the Scarborough services should go via the Bradford and Rochdale route (ex L& Y) route

  • Brian Eastwood, Richmond, USA

    Look at history and regret the stupidity of the Department of Transport.
    British Rail drew up options for rolling electrification of the network in the 1980s which were all roundly ridiculed and rejected out of hand.A grievous mistake economically and operationally,

  • David Faircloth, Derby, UK

    What about the Midland Main Line? I thought it had the best economics of all of the schemes under review

  • stephen a batty, crumlin gwent, wales

    when the east coast was wired to leeds and from doncaster north,the then goverment could have saved millions in doing neville hill to colton junction and then build the wired routes from there on wards,but all govermentts lack the common sense they did this in the beginning,the wires could have gone via hare park to normanton to leeds,third diverionary route for east coast during failures and engineering work,but now they have to use tax payers money to fill a gap that could have been done with the latter.

  • John Gilbert, Cradley, Herefordshire, England

    It now appears that the route through to York IS to be wired. Good. Moreover new doubts have now appeared regarding wires from Manchester VICTORIA to Stalybridge, where the line from Guide Bridge is joined. Why don't these people in London look at the railway map for goodness' sake - even though it is "north of Watford"!. Idiots! Incidentally while it good to see all thise further wiring, it seems as if we will all be in our graves before anything actually happens!!!!! It's easy to announce fantastic schemes but less then impressive when one learns that it will be many years before they are implemented!

  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex, England

    What these announcements prove with doubts about what is to be electrified is a need for a proper national plan which would be a precuser to a proper rolling programme of electrification in England.

    The simple fact surely is as each scheme is undertaken new schemes become viable and while we tend to think of MML electrification from London to Sheffield these northern hub schemes may well allow electrification south from Sheffield!!

    Surely its time the announcement on WCML Voyagers being dual powered was extended to a rolling programme covering both Meridians and Voyagers thus allowing overhead to be used rather than passed under?

    Such a move would allow wiring of extra tracks alongside already electrified lines and help build the case for electric freight trains .

  • Garth Ponsonby, Chippenham

    Overall, this is good news, and the surprise is Hull and (particularly Scarboro and Middlesboro). It does beg the question, though, about the standard of economics at the DfT, when they can envisage York - Scarboro (1 DMU service per hour and minimal freight) and can refuse Cardiff to Swansea (1 HST and 2 or 3 DMUs per hour, and plenty of freight. That is just the economics of the madhouse!