Insight into the huge and complex work needed to upgrade the railway lines around Huddersfield

Massive work will soon start on railway bridges in Huddersfield as part of the £10 billion project to upgrade and transform the railway line between York and Manchester.

Details of the upcoming Transpennine Route Upgrade work and how complex it will be was revealed by Network Rail’s Paul Sumner to a meeting of Huddersfield Civic Society.

Paul said: “Work is scheduled to soon rebuild or replace the listed railway bridge over John William Street in Huddersfield town centre, strengthen the historic railway viaduct across Huddersfield ring road and to new build new bridges over the railway on Leeds Road at Colnebridge and through Mirfield and Ravensthorpe.

“The model is to construct a new, temporary bridge alongside an existing bridge, then demolish the current bridge before building a new one in its place with local rail and road closures concentrated on just the specific weekends when a road deck itself is removed or lifted into place.”

The multi-year project is transforming the rail line between York and Manchester with the largest works on the route now underway between Huddersfield and Dewsbury. Two additional fast tracks are being built alongside the current two-track railway.

Every station, bridge and structure is being re-engineered or rebuilt to accommodate more and longer passenger and goods trains able to travel at higher speeds than they do now.

Paul said: “Splitting routes into fast and slow tracks in each direction and building new platforms at every station capable of taking eight-coach trains will give capacity to get both freight and passengers off roads and onto rail with huge environmental benefits.”

A large new train maintenance depot is also being built at Hillhouse behind the historic coal drops along Alder Street.

Periods of temporary closures, with some rail services diverted, have already begun.

Close to 1,000 staff will soon be working around Huddersfield with a major £80m remodelling of Huddersfield Station itself, all in keeping with the building’s Grade 1 listing. It is planned to add, realign and extend all platforms eastwards under an extended canopy and with a new eastern footbridge built to supplement the existing foot tunnel.

Paul said: “During the next few years Huddersfield will gain a superb, enhanced TransPennine rail service with major economic benefits both during construction and then in operation.”

He added that more information will be provided – both online and in stations – on planned service disruptions and mitigations during the construction period.