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The Transpennine Route Upgrade

The Transpennine route is an important rail connection for both passengers and freight in the north of England, linking Manchester and York, via Huddersfield and Leeds. The Department for Transport (the Department) has identified that the route needs improving as current slow journey times and limited capacity are constraining East-West rail connectivity in the North.

The Department and its delivery body, Network Rail, have planned improvement works on this route since at least 2011, with the scope of the work changing over time to meet different priorities. Most recently in November 2021, as part of its Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands, the Department established the Transpennine Route Upgrade as Phase 1 of its wider Northern Powerhouse Rail programme, along with a revised scope and timetable.

This study will assess whether the Department and Network Rail’s arrangements are set up to successfully deliver the Transpennine Route Upgrade. It will examine:

  • delivery of the Transpennine Route Upgrade programme to date;
  • how the programme is now set up; and
  • the objectives of the programme and their alignment with wider Departmental priorities.