Electrification for cleaner, greener, quieter trains

We’ve installed the first overhead electric lines as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade – the first step towards a cleaner, greener, fully electrified railway between York, Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester.

This monumental scheme – initially working its way from York to Church Fenton – is set to re-energise train travel for passengers across the north of England. It’s the first step towards a cleaner, greener, fully electrified railway between York, Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester.

When complete, across the full 70-mile route, rail passengers will be helping to save up to 87,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year – equivalent to 5.9 million car journeys along the same route. For people living near the railway, it will also mean better air quality and quieter trains.

The first stretch of overhead electric wiring has been installed between Church Fenton and Colton Junction – where trains from Leeds join the East Coast Main Line towards York. It’s one of the busiest stretches of railway in the north, with over 100 trains passing through each day.

Take a look at our team in action installing these new electric overhead wires:

 

Work began on the York to Church Fenton improvement scheme in October 2019, and delivered:

  • 17 kilometres of new, more reliable track, ready to run faster trains
  • An innovative 65-metre-wide under-track crossing
  • 270 new steel masts, which carry the overhead electric wires

Between July and November 2022, engineers worked almost 9,000 hours to install a total of 37 miles of overhead wire along this four-track stretch of line, together with an additional 9 miles of earth wires. Work was carried out overnight at weekends to cause as little disruption to passengers as possible.

When the new wires are energised in early 2024, they will allow more environmentally friendly electric and hybrid trains to run along this section at speeds of up to 125mph – that’s 30mph faster than they currently run.

To maintain an equally eco-friendly construction, the new equipment was built nearby at our own Joseph Lynn Logistics Hub in Sherburn-in-Elmet, before being transported to site by train.