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Forget HS2, Here's The 8-Mile-Long First Sign That Northern Powerhouse Rail Is Really Coming

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Northern powerhouse rail
Transpennine trains, new and old

Thanks to the furore about the government's review of whether and how to proceed with the £100B High Speed 2 rail link from London to Manchester, you could easily miss an announcement that might end up mattering a lot more.

Network Rail has slipped out plans to rebuild and electrify an 8-mile stretch of the Leeds-Manchester Transpennine rail link.

They have launched a public consultation which will ask for feedback on the upgrades to the 8-mile section between Huddersfield and Westtown at Dewsbury, RTM reports.

Network Rail has also suggested doubling the number of tracks from two to four, and proposed a bridge or tunnel at Ravensthorpe.

Stations at Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield and Ravensthorpe will be refurbished and electrification work carried out.

The project is a small slice of a £2.9B TransPennine electrification and upgrade linking the Northern cities, itself the precursor for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

The rate of development of up to 8M SF of new development around Manchester Piccadilly station is likely to turn on whether the HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail projects go ahead.

The government’s review of HS2 is expected to insist that the North-South line is integraqted more closely into the East-West Northern Powerhouse Rail project. Confidence that the East-West high speed rail line could go ahead has been growing steadily this year.

The lobbying group set up by Northern Powerhouse godfather George Osborne has now launched its own review to HS2 in an effort to ensure that the views of Northern cities including Manchester are not neglected.

HS2 was not expected to arrive in Manchester until 2033 on the existing development timetable.