Following our open letter to Grant Shapps MP, Huddersfield Unlimited (HU) and Huddersfield Civic Society (HCC) welcome the Secretary of State for Transport’s unambiguous recognition of the benefits of full electrification of the TransPennine rail route (TRU).

In particular, we welcome the confirmation of the contribution full electrification would make to decarbonisation of the railway as well as delivering improvements to reliability, freight and passenger capacity, regional connectivity and journey times. 

We are disappointed that government will not take a decision until mid-2021 to support the full TRU upgrade as part of the rolling programme of electrification, proposed by Network Rail. 

Coming on the back of previous cancellations, this further delays the economic, passenger and environmental benefits that would flow from the full electrification of TRU, though they remain deliverable in the 2020s. We urge the government to take the investment decision at the earliest opportunity, which remains important to help overcome the impact of Covid 19 and reduce economic dislocation in the North.

Both HU and HCS, together with other organisations including Zero Carbon Yorkshire, Railfuture (Yorkshire) and Action on Yorkshire Transport, invite the Secretary of State to confirm that Network Rail will discuss their forthcoming route priorities from their decarbonisation study (TDNS) in advance of making recommendations to government. There is clear support from business and transport organisations, Kirklees Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, for the necessary investment to be included in government announcements early in 2021, on the assumption that this will deliver infrastructure improvements in the 2020s. 

DfT should as a minimum share their modelling of the impact of removing freight from the M62, reducing carbon emissions from the train journeys and the economic impact of full electrification to legitimise the potential recommendations and to enhance the wider benefits that could be achieved.

HU and HCS will continue to argue for this engagement as well as making the case for the confirmation of funding in 2021.

To read the response in full from the Department for Transport, click here.

To discover more about the work Huddersfield Unlimited is doing on transport, click here.