The first miles of new electric overhead wires on a mainline in Yorkshire are up, marking a step-change in progress for the multi-billion-pound Transpennine Route Upgrade.
Initially working its way from York to Church Fenton, the new scheme is set to re-energise train travel for passengers across the north of England, taking the first step towards a cleaner, greener, fully electrified railway between York, Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester.
This stretch is one of the busiest stretches of railway in the north, with over 100 trains padding through each day.
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Once complete, 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 76-mile route.
The railway will also mean people living near the railway have better air quality and quieter trains passing.
Rob McIntosh, Managing Director for Network Rail’s Eastern Region said: “This is a huge moment for the Transpennine Route Upgrade and really represents the forward shift we’ve seen in recent months.
“This first major milestone in York promises a cleaner, greener future where passengers in the north of England can confidently rely on the railway to get them to where they need to be in good time.”
Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said: “Thanks to our £96 billion Integrated Rail Plan, the biggest single investment in the UK’s rail network ever, we’re now delivering faster, cleaner and more frequent travel for passengers across the North.
“As we level up the country, it’s critical that people across the UK have access to rail networks they can rely on. Yorkshire’s new electric railway is a key step in delivering just that.”
When the new wires are energised, they will allow more environmentally friendly 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 the brand-new Joseph Lynn Logistics Hub in Sherburn-in-Elmet, before being transported to site by train.