Transpennine Route Upgrade reveals plans to slash carbon emissions, generate thousands of jobs and deliver billions of pounds in social value in the North of England

The Transpennine Route Upgrade has today revealed its strategy to improve the lives of millions of people in the North
Date 17.05.23

The Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) has revealed its strategy to improve the lives of millions of people in the North by:

  • Slashing railway carbon emissions, equivalent to taking 6 million cars off the road for an entire year
  • Creating and safeguarding thousands of jobs for local people and providing tens of thousands of opportunities for new entrants to the industry and young people
  • Delivering more than £4bn in social value and a further £4bn in wellbeing

The multi-billion-pound railway programme will deliver major upgrades on the 70-mile route between Manchester and York, transforming journeys across the North, better connecting towns and cities through more frequent, faster, greener trains, running on a better, cleaner and more reliable railway.

As well as delivering benefits for passengers, the programme’s new sustainability strategy titled ‘Our Guiding Compass’ outlines its commitments to delivering environmental benefits, social value and employment opportunities.

Rail Minister Huw Merriman said:

“Sustainability is at the heart of the Transpennine Route upgrade – delivering faster and more reliable electrified services in the North in a way that’s also better for our environment.”

“I welcome the launch of today’s strategy and am proud to see the transformational benefits of the upgrade coming to life by creating new jobs and opportunities while slashing carbon emissions across the region.”

Anna Humphries, Head of Sustainability and Social Value for the Transpennine Route Upgrade, said:

“The Transpennine Route Upgrade’s sustainability strategy is clear in our vision for the North of England. We’re delivering not just a railway that will be faster, cleaner and provide more seats, but we’re putting the sustainability and social value delivery of the programme at the heart of all we do.”

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a real impact on the lives of those who live in the North of England and ‘Our Guiding Compass’ puts in writing how we intend to do that.”

Our Guiding Compass

Rob Warnes, Strategic Development Director at Northern Trains said:

“The Transpennine Route Upgrade will be transformative for our customers, enabling us to run greener, faster trains and slash our carbon emissions.”

“The programme is creating jobs here at Northern, as well as in our supply chain and across the North of England, offering our towns and cities a much-needed economic boost”

Nicola Martin, Head of Sustainability for TransPennine Express said:

“People and the environment are at the heart of Our Guiding Compass. This is so important today, in a world where people are more informed about the pressures on the environment.”

“The investments being made through the Transpennine Route Upgrade will bring welcome improvements to our rail network and will attract and retain customers who seek to travel in a low carbon way.”

TRU will deliver a cleaner, greener railway by electrifying the 70-mile rail route between Manchester and York. It will also slash carbon emissions by mitigating negative environmental impacts during construction and enhancing the natural environment surrounding the route.

TRU will create 4,000 new roles during construction with 60% of the workforce are being employed from within 25 miles of the route and 80% within 40 miles.  20% will be from underrepresented groups to create a diverse team to reflect the communities on the Transpennine route.

Using cutting-edge technology, the railway programme has also calculated the impact of its sustainable development activities to £4.28 bn in social value and an estimated £4.9bn in wellbeing impact, in addition to the traditional programme economic impact assessments.

This is calculated using the Rail Social Value Tool, which is an online tool developed specifically for the rail industry in the UK, in line with HM Treasury Green Book Principles, to conduct valuations of the social value generated for individuals and society.

It also uses the ‘WELLBY Assessment’, which estimates the impact of the change to wellbeing by calculating the amount of additional income a person would need to receive to then experience the same change in wellbeing.

‘Our Guiding Compass – TRU Sustainable Development Strategy’ can be accessed here

Notes to Editors

We’re transforming journeys across the North, better connecting towns and cities through more frequent, faster trains, running on a cleaner, greener and more reliable railway.

Passenger benefits

TRU will bring passengers:

  • More trains to choose from and more seats. Our improvements will enable more trains to run between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York with up to six fast services every hour between Leeds and Manchester and up to two stopping services for local connectivity.
  • Faster journeys so you can travel to your favourite towns and cities more quickly. Our fastest journey times are forecast to be 63-66 minutes between Manchester and York and 41-42 minutes between Manchester and Leeds.
  • More reliable journeys with trains that run on-time
  • Better stations across the Transpennine route, bringing passengers a better travel experience through improved, more accessible station.

Jobs for local people

TRU will provide work opportunities for people across the North through:

  • Supporting over 8,000 roles. Creating 4,000 new opportunities and safeguarding 4,000 jobs during construction – with 20% of new roles filled by underrepresented groups to create a diverse team that reflects the communities in which we work.
  • Employing 590 apprentices of all ages, levels and backgrounds.
  • Delivering over 30,000 placement days to support new entrants joining the industry, pre-employment, transitioning and upskilling of which a minimum of 20% will be from underrepresented groups.
  • Making sure 60% of the project workforce are employed from within 25 miles of the route and 80% within 40 miles.
  • Ensuring a minimum of 25% of project supply chain spend will be with local businesses within 25 miles of the route.
  • Placing a minimum of 33% of project supply chain spend with small, medium sized enterprises, micro business, and voluntary sector organisations.
  • Engaging with over 100,000 young people through our inclusive education programme.

Environmental benefits

As part of TRU’s sustainability strategy it will also deliver environmental benefits by:

  • 90% of construction waste to be recycled
  • 99% of all non-hazardous materials diverted from landfill
  • 10% net gain of biodiversity
  • 6 million tonnes of CO2e saved over a 60-year period after work is complete
  • 10% net gain of biodiversity

Calculating the value of social value and wellbeing

Cutting-edge, innovative tools have been used to calculate the impact of TRU’s sustainability strategy, totalling £4.28bn delivered in social value and £4.9bn delivered in wellbeing, in addition to the traditional programme economic impact assessments.

The £4.28bn delivered in social value includes:

  • Up to £715m from buying goods and services from local business within a 25-mile radius
  • Up to £1.6bn from creating and safeguarding jobs and employing local people
  • Up to £29m through employing apprenticeships
  • Up to £338m through engaging students in inclusive education and routes into rail
  • Up to £1.5bn through reducing operational carbon by electrifying the route and shifting away from cars on the road

The value delivered in wellbeing includes is estimated at £4.9bn in wellbeing impacts. This has been calculated using a cutting edge ‘WELLBY Assessment’. This includes:

  • Better connectivity improves job satisfaction when people can access better employment opportunities, which is worth £2.8bn
  • The programme is anticipated to generate greater satisfaction with neighbourhoods, as better access to tourism and less noise will generate £893bn in value
  • New access to better active travel is expected to generate £156m in value
  • £1.3bn through reduced air pollution
  • £617m in value through the shift in travel away from cars towards more environmentally friendly options