Frequently Asked Questions

We want everyone to understand and appreciate this amazing project, so it’s great when you ask us questions. Here are some of the most common ones we get.
About the programme
What is the Transpennine Route Upgrade?

The Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) is a major, multi-billion-pound programme of railway improvements which will bring better journeys to passengers travelling across the Pennines between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York.

This once in a generation railway upgrade across the Pennines will enable: 

  • More frequent, faster train journeys between key towns and cities 
  • Greener, cleaner travel on low-emission trains  
  • Smoother, on-time trains 
  • A better travel experience through improved, more accessible stations.
What kind of work are you doing?

Improving rail travel for so many people is a big, complex project, so we’ll be doing different kinds of work, in different places at various different times.

For example, things are already well under way on the line from York to Colton Junction, where we’re electrifying the line, renewing track, and putting in better signalling equipment. And on the line between Huddersfield and Westtown (Dewsbury), we’re doubling the number of tracks from two to four. All of this brings us one step closer to giving you  greener, faster, more reliable journeys.

While we’re carrying out our work, we know people still need to get places. To help keep you moving, we’re upgrading other sections of railway in the area as well as the Transpennine route. We’ll use these to run diversion services when sections of the main line are closed for longer periods.

Why don’t you check out what else we’ve been working on across the region. 

How long is the upgrade going to take?

As the largest investment that’s ever been made into rail in our region, the Transpennine Route Upgrade will transform train travel between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York. It’s an ambitious long-term programme that’ll take years to deliver, but we’re already hard at work and things are well on track.

At every stage we’ll be focused on keeping things moving as smoothly as possible – not just for passengers, but for everyone in the communities we’re working in too.

How much is the upgrade going to cost?

The Transpennine Route Upgrade is a multi-billion-pound programme of railway improvements, and a key commitment in the government’s £96bn Integrated Rail Plan (IRP).

How does the Transpennine Route Upgrade fit into the Integrated Rail Plan?

The Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) is a fundamental part of the Government’s Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) proposals, which fall within their wider Integrated Rail Plan (IRP).

The IRP is part of the Government’s strategy to deliver better journeys for passengers sooner. With a budget of £96 billion, it is the largest ever Government programme of investment in the railway, and will modernise rail connections across the North and Midlands. 

How TRU will affect people
I live near the railway, how will the Transpennine Route Upgrade affect me?

We’ll be working day and night to bring you a better rail service. It will be noisy work at times, but we’ll always consider you and do our best to keep you happy.

As well as keeping noise and disruption to a minimum, we’ll give you as much notice as possible about our engineering works before they happen. We’ll also host information events where we can.

If we fall short, please let us know. We’ll always listen to your concerns, and we take complaints very seriously.

What will the Transpennine Route Upgrade do for passengers?

This upgrade is going to mean greener, faster, more reliable services between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds, and York. You can find out more about the details of these benefits here.

What will the Transpennine Route Upgrade do for local communities?

We want to make life better for communities along the Transpennine route. Not just by making local journeys more enjoyable, but by taking part in volunteering days and charitable initiatives. We’ll be providing apprenticeship opportunities and work placements for adults and young people as well.

We also want to use this opportunity to continue keeping people safe on the railway. Working with the wider rail industry and local schools, we’re running targeted safety campaigns to reduce risks on the line and raise awareness.

The process of electrification
Why are we electrifying the Transpennine route?

By electrifying railway lines, we can let electric trains run on routes that are currently only open to diesel trains. This is a very good thing because, compared to diesels, electric trains are more reliable, cheaper to run, easier to maintain, better for the environment and much quieter – both for passengers and anyone who lives nearby.

All of this creates a more efficient railway network that can better support economic growth across our cities and towns.

What is overhead line equipment (OLE)?

Electric trains get their power from the wires that run above them, carrying 25,000 volts. These wires, and the masts that hold them up, are called ‘overhead line equipment’, or ‘OLE’ for short.

Is it safe to live next to an electrified railway?

Yes. Every part of an electrified railway is meticulously planned with safety in mind, and we carry out thorough maintenance checks to ensure everything stays in good order.

Your peace of mind is extremely important to us. If you live close to a line, we’ll keep you informed about our work both in writing and through face-to-face public information sessions. If there is anything that worries you, please tell us!

What does installing overhead line equipment involve?

Before we can electrify a line, we have to clear any trees, and reconstruct any bridges that are too low to fit the equipment underneath.

We also have to drive steel piles deep into the ground to make solid foundations for the overhead line masts. This work is called ‘piling’ and it’s usually done at night, on weekdays and weekends. Piling is a noisy operation and we understand the inconvenience that piling can cause our lineside neighbours, so we do everything we can to minimise disruption.