Transpennine Route Upgrade and Electrification updates, CP6

Revaulx

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Where is your ambition? A new station in Oldham must accompany my new line and base tunnel direct to Huddersfield...
Just think how good a service Grasscoft could have without the need to limit stoppers so they fit in between pesky expresses...
So a four-track tunnel complete with underground stations?

We’ll soon get told to clear off to the dismal swamp that is the Speculative Ideas forum.
 
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twin turbo

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There was a public drop in at Church Fenton recently with regards imminent work on phase one from York to Church Fenton as part of the TPU. Residents were told this first phase would take over two years to complete and sheet piling will be starting in May. Interestingly the works end just about where the HS2 junction will join the existing tracks which begs the question, are they going to incorporate the HS2 line in order to take out the curve at Church Fenton which is part the second phase and required to achieve the increased line speeds. This certainly looks the obvious solution bearing in mind the logistical headache involved otherwise in order to ease that curve with bridge in Church Fenton and also the houses that would be affected on the Rose Lane crossing.
 

AndrewE

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Standedge tunnel is a tricky one as whilst electrification through the twin bore should be relatively straightforward, reopening the disused bores might not be. As older single bores clearances for wires might be an issue, as is maintaining the emergency access which one of those bores currently gives. At least we seem to have moved on from the "Grayling Gap" thinking (fingers crossed).
Standedge will not be difficult. The 2 singe bores are in good condition and a decent size too. They have been maintained as well.
So a four-track tunnel complete with underground stations?
where did I say that?
We’ll soon get told to clear off to the dismal swamp that is the Speculative Ideas forum.
It's not difficult to understand "keep the existing Yorkshire infrastructure for the slow lines it provides but, because there is no space for any on the west side, build a new pair of fast lines from Manchester (with a station at Oldham to bring it back onto the network) then in a base tunnel to Huddersfield." That way all the existing suburban/commuter stations stay in use and we get the extra fast line capacity we need.
At the moment all discussion of electrification through the Pennines is speculation.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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So a four-track tunnel complete with underground stations?
We’ll soon get told to clear off to the dismal swamp that is the Speculative Ideas forum.
On the Ligurian coast of Italy, they have spent several decades working on a long-term plan to move the coastal railway inland and largely underground.
Places like San Remo now have significant underground stations on the new route, which has a faster alignment than the old.
The purpose was to free up the railway coastal corridor for tourism development (the railway ran practically on the sea shore).
From the railway point of view it's a pity to lose the coastal route and views, but one can see the economic benefits of the tunnelling.

The same happened further west in France with Monte Carlo station, which is now underground on a new alignment.
The railway there is really no more important than our Trans Pennine route, although admittedly there's not so much tourism around Diggle. :)
 

nr758123

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We’ll soon get told to clear off to the dismal swamp that is the Speculative Ideas forum.
The reason so much about the Transpennine Route Upgrade is speculation is that in over 8 years since it was first announced (Autumn Statement 2011) there has been obsessive and unjustifiable secrecy, and almost no consultation with passengers and communities along the route.

Speculation fills in gaps where information is missing.
 

tpjm

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The reason so much about the Transpennine Route Upgrade is speculation is that in over 8 years since it was first announced (Autumn Statement 2011) there has been obsessive and unjustifiable secrecy, and almost no consultation with passengers and communities along the route.

Speculation fills in gaps where information is missing.
Mainly because our governments over the last 8 years are still yet to commit the funding to the project.
 

Revaulx

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It's not difficult to understand "keep the existing Yorkshire infrastructure for the slow lines it provides but, because there is no space for any on the west side, build a new pair of fast lines from Manchester (with a station at Oldham to bring it back onto the network) then in a base tunnel to Huddersfield." That way all the existing suburban/commuter stations stay in use and we get the extra fast line capacity we need.
At the moment all discussion of electrification through the Pennines is speculation.
Ah I see: the base tunnel starts the Hudds side of Oldham.

Trouble is, there’s no heavy rail infrastructure to join up with in Oldham these days, and what has been lost was never great for either speed or passenger convenience. Plus the town centre is on top of a hill.
 

edwin_m

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Agreed, but this is a good example of the pre-nationalised railway (the LMS at least) displaying a total lack of imagination. The Grouping should have opened up huge opportunities for new services that crossed pre-Grouping borders, but instead the old patterns prevailed; in many cases up to closure in BR days.

It’s obviously quite a bit further than the route via Stalybridge, but a Manchester-Oldham-Hudds-Leeds semi-fast would surely have been a success. Though I suppose the poor location of Oldham’s stations would always have been an issue.
Absolutely. There are other examples such as Colne, where I believe there were hardly any through services right up until closure of the Skipton line, simply because it was the boundary between the Midland and the L&Y. I was thinking of a service via Ashton partly because there would have been fewer stopping trains to get in the way, but running some Yorkshire semi-fasts via Hollinwood could have been made to work as well.

How do you get from Greenfield to Diggle? Much better to go for a better solution which sidesteps the western approach problem altogether...
This is more of a historical tangent (sorry) about what would have happened if the route hadn't been closed down pre-Beeching. Obviously it wouldn't have provided as much through capacity as a new NPR route or even keeping Micklehurst, but it would have created through journey opportunities and with careful timetabling would have allowed more trains despite still having that two-track bottleneck. Alternatively it could have terminated in the bay at Greenfield with a good connection into the stopper towards Huddersfield.

Much like how West of Huddersfield there's no space for quadrupling throughout beyond Ravensthorpe, the historical 'splitting' of capacity between the Greenfield and Micklehurst routes means the remaining formation is only suitable for double track. Just as it remains to be seen how Ravensthorpe to Leeds will get a capacity increase (the current Eastbound overtaking opportunity at Dewsbury looks like it'll be removed based on diagrams(!)), the section between Huddersfield and Stalybridge hasn't had any concrete plans released either.

4-tracking is certainly possible from Huddersfield to Diggle, but doing the whole lot would be expensive. As long as 2 tracks are the limit West of Diggle, there's little point in doing all of the rest anyway as if you use the 4-track section to its full potential you just create a bottleneck. Dynamic loops at strategic points should suffice, particularly if they cover the stations to reduce waits at signals.
A dynamic overtaking loop actually has to be pretty long to if the train being overtaken is to avoid waiting at the exit signal. 4-tracking as far as one end or the other of the tunnel means a stopping train only has to make its Greenfield and Mossley stops before it gets caught up by the following fast, rather than the four stops (or six with the suggested re-openings) with double track throughout. So it would facilitate a better service for all the intermediate stations and remove the need for skip-stopping. However if NPR provides the fast Manchester-Leeds service on separate tracks then more of the trains that remain on the traditional route will have more stops anyway.
 

61653 HTAFC

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A dynamic overtaking loop actually has to be pretty long to if the train being overtaken is to avoid waiting at the exit signal. 4-tracking as far as one end or the other of the tunnel means a stopping train only has to make its Greenfield and Mossley stops before it gets caught up by the following fast, rather than the four stops (or six with the suggested re-openings) with double track throughout. So it would facilitate a better service for all the intermediate stations and remove the need for skip-stopping. However if NPR provides the fast Manchester-Leeds service on separate tracks then more of the trains that remain on the traditional route will have more stops anyway.
Absolutely. This (the loop length conundrum) can be seen on the route when comparing the overtaking opportunity at Mirfield westbound with the station loop eastbound at Dewsbury: the Mirfield loop only holds up the stopper if the overtaking fast service is a few minutes late- whereas eastbound the 10 minute dwell for the stopper is unavoidable. There is space between Huddersfield and Diggle for longer loops which would allow stoppers to run at pretty much linespeed between stations if the right sections are quadrupled. Four-tracking from say Milnsbridge to Marsden would allow a stopper to leave Huddersfield 5 mins ahead of the following fast, enter the slow line at the start of the 4-track section and then call at Milnsbridge/Golcar, Slaithwaite and Marsden without getting in the way of any fasts. If it gets to Marsden as the second fast overtakes, it will then have a clear run through the tunnel... the only issue is that once on the "dark side" of the hills the next fast will be gaining on it, and there isn't the length for a similar dynamic loop there.
 

tpjm

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Absolutely. This (the loop length conundrum) can be seen on the route when comparing the overtaking opportunity at Mirfield westbound with the station loop eastbound at Dewsbury: the Mirfield loop only holds up the stopper if the overtaking fast service is a few minutes late- whereas eastbound the 10 minute dwell for the stopper is unavoidable. There is space between Huddersfield and Diggle for longer loops which would allow stoppers to run at pretty much linespeed between stations if the right sections are quadrupled. Four-tracking from say Milnsbridge to Marsden would allow a stopper to leave Huddersfield 5 mins ahead of the following fast, enter the slow line at the start of the 4-track section and then call at Milnsbridge/Golcar, Slaithwaite and Marsden without getting in the way of any fasts. If it gets to Marsden as the second fast overtakes, it will then have a clear run through the tunnel... the only issue is that once on the "dark side" of the hills the next fast will be gaining on it, and there isn't the length for a similar dynamic loop there.
This would be my argument for four tracking from Milnsbridge to Diggle. Start the four track in the right place and you can rebuild a station at Golcar without affecting a fast service whilst you’re slowing down for it (which is one of the major problems of Platform 3 at Marsden). Standedge tunnel is hefty length of ‘useable’ land space for additional rail.
 

NorthernSpirit

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There's a housing estate on it between Greenfield and the Lydgate tunnel. On the other side it's still largely clear but has been infilled with waste landfill (complete with methane vents).

Shame, because in combination with the Oldham-Ashton line it could have made an alternative transpennine route and also given Oldham a useful link to Yorkshire. It actually connected more with the Ashton line via Clegg Street than with the L&Y via the adjacent Central station and Werneth, although there were crossovers between the two between Mumps and Central/Clegg St.
That's a shame as the line could have been used for the fasts via Lydgate and the slows via Mossley what with the loss of the line via Micklehurst.

Other than Diggle and Stalybridge, there really isn't anywhere for any dynamic loops to be put in unless it was made bi-directional as per Haywards Heath which is bi-di through the tunnel there and could well be an option up here.
 

edwin_m

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On the Ligurian coast of Italy, they have spent several decades working on a long-term plan to move the coastal railway inland and largely underground.
Places like San Remo now have significant underground stations on the new route, which has a faster alignment than the old.
The purpose was to free up the railway coastal corridor for tourism development (the railway ran practically on the sea shore).
From the railway point of view it's a pity to lose the coastal route and views, but one can see the economic benefits of the tunnelling.

The same happened further west in France with Monte Carlo station, which is now underground on a new alignment.
The railway there is really no more important than our Trans Pennine route, although admittedly there's not so much tourism around Diggle. :)
But also much less re-development opportunity. In San Remo they would be releasing prime real estate in existing built-up areas with a sea view. Most of the Stalybridge-Huddersfield section isn't built up and some kind of strip development would never be allowed. The only place it might make sense would be building over the vicinity of Mossley station, and even then there's plenty of land nearby that could be used more easily if housing is needed, without the need for an underground replacement station.
I think the solution here is to leave the existing line where it is, to cater primarily for intermediate stations, and build the NPR Manchester-Leeds route which the government now claims to be committed to. Not surprisingly the Romans found the straight line between the two, give or take a few wiggles dropping into the Tame Valley, and it would pass quite near Oldham.

Other than Diggle and Stalybridge, there really isn't anywhere for any dynamic loops to be put in unless it was made bi-directional as per Haywards Heath which is bi-di through the tunnel there and could well be an option up here.
The four-track formations at Diggle (if you don't continue through the tunnel) and at Stalybridge aren't long enough for anything more than a static loop. A dynamic loop for overtaking needs to be at several miles (depending on train speeds, number of stations and which trains call at them).
 

deltic08

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There was a public drop in at Church Fenton recently with regards imminent work on phase one from York to Church Fenton as part of the TPU. Residents were told this first phase would take over two years to complete and sheet piling will be starting in May. Interestingly the works end just about where the HS2 junction will join the existing tracks which begs the question, are they going to incorporate the HS2 line in order to take out the curve at Church Fenton which is part the second phase and required to achieve the increased line speeds. This certainly looks the obvious solution bearing in mind the logistical headache involved otherwise in order to ease that curve with bridge in Church Fenton and also the houses that would be affected on the Rose Lane crossing.
The current road overbridge at Church Fenton station still needs raising, particularly the single arch on the Down line, unless platforms are built on the bypass which I doubt.
 

LittleAH

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This would be my argument for four tracking from Milnsbridge to Diggle. Start the four track in the right place and you can rebuild a station at Golcar without affecting a fast service whilst you’re slowing down for it (which is one of the major problems of Platform 3 at Marsden). Standedge tunnel is hefty length of ‘useable’ land space for additional rail.
would there be any line speed changes because of this?
 

edwin_m

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Maybe a bit of realignment for the bend at Marsden but I suspect that would be it... Main benefits would come from not having to follow a stopper from Greenfield to Huddersfield.
At Marsden there might even be a speed increase if the four tracks continued through the tunnel, as the loop currently trails in part way through the tightest part of the curve and this may limit the speed more than the curve itself. The main lines are on the outside of the curve and space remains for two more (assuming the loop becomes one of them) so I can't see the speed getting any lower. Crossovers would be positioned further east on straight track (there do seem to be a few bits!) rather than on the curve close to the tunnel portal.

However there are places such as the one linked below where the remaining lines have been slewed across to the south side of the formation, which is probably to increase speed on curves although it may be for some other reason such as a problem structure or earthwork. The same applies to the viaduct at Slaithwaite.
https://www.bing.com/maps?osid=c500...-1.918364&lvl=18&style=a&v=2&sV=2&form=S00027
 

GingerSte

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Absolutely. This (the loop length conundrum) can be seen on the route when comparing the overtaking opportunity at Mirfield westbound with the station loop eastbound at Dewsbury: the Mirfield loop only holds up the stopper if the overtaking fast service is a few minutes late- whereas eastbound the 10 minute dwell for the stopper is unavoidable. There is space between Huddersfield and Diggle for longer loops which would allow stoppers to run at pretty much linespeed between stations if the right sections are quadrupled. Four-tracking from say Milnsbridge to Marsden would allow a stopper to leave Huddersfield 5 mins ahead of the following fast, enter the slow line at the start of the 4-track section and then call at Milnsbridge/Golcar, Slaithwaite and Marsden without getting in the way of any fasts. If it gets to Marsden as the second fast overtakes, it will then have a clear run through the tunnel... the only issue is that once on the "dark side" of the hills the next fast will be gaining on it, and there isn't the length for a similar dynamic loop there.
I tend to agree with this. However, I would note that Marden to Stalybridge is only around nine miles, and has only two intermediate stations (it would have four if you had stations at Diggle and Dobcross). Stalybridge looks to have the room for at least two in each direction, and the line splits to the west of this (Pic or Vic). At Stalybridge the fast can go one way and the slow the other.

It looks like there's already a passing loop between Diggle and Dobcross on the eastbound side. It looks as if you should be able to extend that westerly a bit, and have the two eastbound platforms on the loop at least. You should also be able get a platform on a loop on the westbound side at Diggle.

(I'm assuming paired by direction between Huddersfield and Stalybridge, if that makes any difference.)
 

tpjm

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I have just measured on Google the distance between the old Butterhouse Tunnel* portal (for the Micklehurst loop) to the other side of Milnsbridge Viaduct and it's about 10 miles which I believe is a good length for a dynamic passing loop, especially if new stations were to be inserted at Diggle and Golcar.

*I measured from here as this is historically where the line became four track.



However there are places such as the one linked below where the remaining lines have been slewed across to the south side of the formation, which is probably to increase speed on curves although it may be for some other reason such as a problem structure or earthwork. The same applies to the viaduct at Slaithwaite.
I get that, but I doubt the speed decreases would be a massive problem provided the trains are able to get a clear route. This would shave the 5 mins of padding that has been put in on some services to account for following a stopper.
 

AndrewE

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I have just measured on Google the distance between the old Butterhouse Tunnel* portal (for the Micklehurst loop) to the other side of Milnsbridge Viaduct and it's about 10 miles which I believe is a good length for a dynamic passing loop, especially if new stations were to be inserted at Diggle and Golcar.
*I measured from here as this is historically where the line became four track.
But what do you do downhill from there (Butterhouse Tunnel) towards Manchester? No way is it worth trying to force a new pair of fast lines down the valley - especially when you can sidestep the whole problem by not being constrained by sticking to the current or recent past routes. 4 lines in Yorkshire? why not - if it is justified. But don't overlook all the added value from a base tunnel for trains which don't need to stop or call en route.
 

tpjm

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Given that it would be about 6 minutes from Stalybridge to the four track section on an express, or 11 mins on a stopper calling at Mossley and Greenfield, I suspect that my plan would work well enough. There's an entirely different project for new fast non-stop trains between Leeds and Manchester, this is about increasing frequency and reliability through this core route.

Granted, some of these pathing times are tight, but this gives an idea of possible frequencies of service through this section... Using the slow-lines for "semi-express" services in the timetable would mean increased redundancy for late runners.
 

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edwin_m

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It looks like there's already a passing loop between Diggle and Dobcross on the eastbound side. It looks as if you should be able to extend that westerly a bit, and have the two eastbound platforms on the loop at least. You should also be able get a platform on a loop on the westbound side at Diggle.
That's the Diggle Junction loop. I think it was left to serve a similar function to the westbound one at Marsden, to hold a slower train on the approach to the tunnel for a faster one to go first. The Junction in that name refers to the divergence of the old Micklehurst line through Butterhouse Tunnel mentioned above, and from there to the Diggle tunnel portals there were four tracks so a loop could be put in on the other side too. However the former site of Diggle station was right up against the tunnel portal, so if you want platforms on loops the station would have to be further west to make room for the loop points. That probably makes it less accessible to Diggle itself.

ncidentally the next station towards Manchester was called Saddleworth, and was just before the east and of the viaduct. It was about equidistant from Dobcross and Uppermill, and there was a Dobcross station on the Delph branch. To my mind the Saddleworth area is crying out to be served by a Swiss-style network of timed bus feeders from Greenfield, as Uppermill and Greenfield itself are down a steep hill from the railway and none of the other villages except Diggle is close enough for a convenient station. If that was done then it could probably serve Diggle too without the need for a new station which, given the size of the place, wouldn't be very well patronized. I can't find a population for Diggle but the whole of Saddleworth is only 24000 and anyone who would travel from outside Diggle to use that station could equally well go to Greenfield.

(I'm assuming paired by direction between Huddersfield and Stalybridge, if that makes any difference.)
However it looks like Huddersfield towards Mirfield will be paired by use, so the long four-track section would be interrupted in one direction by a conflict at Huddersfield.
 

AndrewE

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And nobody else thinks it is worth bidding for a tunnel that will side-step the problem - besides being far quicker - altogether? (eventually)
 

AndrewE

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People keep mentioning a "Pennine Base Tunnel" on here as an aside, but any project of that magnitude probably requires its own thread.
but without it you introduce a lot more problems trying to square lots of circles. (btw It's probably only me going on about it...) If the LMS or whoever reaised they couldn't run fast, slow and freight trains on 2 lines between Stalybridge and Diggle, how are we going to do it with more frequent services?
If both lines are full you can't use one of them as an overtaking loop, no matter how cleverly it is signalled!
I see a separate new fast line as fundamental to actually delivering the upgrades of the other two, neither of which is suited to running an inter-regional intercity service, let alone absorbing extra traffic while the other is being worked on!
 

61653 HTAFC

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but without it you introduce a lot more problems trying to square lots of circles. (btw It's probably only me going on about it...) If the LMS or whoever reaised they couldn't run fast, slow and freight trains on 2 lines between Stalybridge and Diggle, how are we going to do it with more frequent services?
If both lines are full you can't use one of them as an overtaking loop, no matter how cleverly it is signalled!
I see a separate new fast line as fundamental to actually delivering the upgrades of the other two, neither of which is suited to running an inter-regional intercity service, let alone absorbing extra traffic while the other is being worked on!
Barely any freight runs on the route west of Heaton Lodge anyway, it almost all runs via Brighouse and the Calder Valley.

I wasn't poo-pooing the idea of a Pennine base tunnel, just mentioning that such a scheme is outside the scope of a thread discussing the upgrade of the existing line. Lest I be accused of backseat moderating, there's at least one thread on HS3, Northern Powerhouse Rail or whatever the latest gimmicky name that a junior minister came up with is.
 

Tim_UK

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To my mind the Saddleworth area is crying out to be served by a Swiss-style network of timed bus feeders from Greenfield,
Would be amazing. Except there is no point unless you could run much longer trains. Or really increase the frequency. I know many people in that area and even for those within walking distance of the station the answer is `I don't get the train because no chance of getting a seat`. And it isn't that they haven't tried the train, they have.

Would be interesting to see whether journeys are up since Greenfield now gets 3 car 185s rather than whatever northern had before. The answer is maybe a little bit, but I think you would need to 2019 to 2020 data to see. Done by financial year and at https://dataportal.orr.gov.uk/statistics/usage/estimates-of-station-usage/
 

Revaulx

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Would be amazing. Except there is no point unless you could run much longer trains. Or really increase the frequency. I know many people in that area and even for those within walking distance of the station the answer is `I don't get the train because no chance of getting a seat`. And it isn't that they haven't tried the train, they have.

Would be interesting to see whether journeys are up since Greenfield now gets 3 car 185s rather than whatever northern had before. The answer is maybe a little bit, but I think you would need to 2019 to 2020 data to see. Done by financial year and at https://dataportal.orr.gov.uk/statistics/usage/estimates-of-station-usage/
I’d be surprised if the main turnoff wasn’t the service’s shocking unreliability since the May ‘18 timetable change. An on time Pacer is better than a hopelessly late (or nonexistent) 185.
 

DelphDonkey

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There was one timed bus feeder to Greenfield, service 356. Unfortunately after the last rail timetable change it wasn't possible to connect with trains and run the timetable with one bus, so now it is of very little use as a feeder .... and is being replaced by a long route from Oldham to Ashton via Denshaw, concatenating four routes together, in April, after which it *might* connect with the trains a little better, but isn't going to be very reliable. Greenfield gets six car 185s in most peak hours, the Hull stoppers, but given TPE's ongoing stock situation, this is not yet consistent.
 

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https://consultations.networkrail.co.uk/communications/huddersfield-to-westtown-dewsbury-phase-2/

If you go on here and scroll right down to the bottom, there are bunch of PDF downloads.

General thoughts - the whole thing is a lot of work and will be really amazing when finished.

Things I thought from reading through,
  • Overhead line will go through the Gledhold tunnels and a short distance on the Penistone Line. (see the OLE PDF, the maps are really detailed)
  • Nothing about a hillhouse station, but hillhouse is the main compound.
  • 3 outline options for John William street bridge in Huddersfield. 2 with a central pillar. I think the pillar options are to try and build the thing faster so less disruption.
  • options to relocate Deighton station 400m west, to avoid knocking some houses down. Either way looks like a nice set of improvements.
    • Both have station forecourt, 3 blue badge spaces, step free access.
  • Canal bridge in Bradley is getting replaced.
  • Huddersfield station
    • getting bridge as well as the existing subway
    • subway will get extended to the new platforms
    • The `tea room` is moving. Presume they mean buffet.
    • 4 through platforms, 2 bi-directional, 1 bay to Leeds
  • Still no decision on fly over or dive under at Ravensthorpe. But the station moving towards Mirfield a bit (so should be able to have services to Leeds and Wakefield)

Questions not answered
  • timescales for work and disruption
Taken from the dedicated Huddersfield-Dewsbury thread; this shows the specific details of the new electrification and upgrade proposals between Huddersfield & Dewsbury.
 

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