Transpennine Route Upgrade’s first electric wires now in place to power greener journeys
The TRU East Alliance of Network Rail, VolkerRail, J. Murphy and Sons, Siemens and Systra, has now installed 37 miles of overhead wire and nine miles of earth wires, along a six mile four-track stretch of line on the East Coast Main Line, as part of the multi-billion-pound Transpennine Route Upgrade.
The work has taken place between Church Fenton and Colton Junction, where trains from Leeds join the East Coast Main Line into York. This is one of the busiest stretches of railway in the north, with over 100 trains using the line each day.
Over the last four months, engineers have spent nearly 9,000 hours installing the 37 miles of overhead wire. Work was carried out overnight and at weekends, to minimise disruption to passengers.
This is the first step towards a cleaner, greener, fully electrified railway between York, Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester. When the newly-installed wires are energised, they will allow more environmentally-friendly electric and hybrid trains to run at speeds of up to 125mph – which is 30mph faster than current train speeds along the network.
Rob McIntosh, managing director for Network Rail’s Eastern region said: “We’ve reached a major milestone on our journey to bring cleaner, greener trains to the north and deliver a better railway which people can rely on.
“Teams in York and Manchester are working in tandem to electrify sections of the route and will eventually connect to unlock faster, more frequent services and help passengers get to where they need to be, on time.”
Rail Minister, Huw Merriman, said: “Our multi-billion pound Transpennine Route upgrade will transform journeys for passengers across the North of England, with faster, more frequent services and improved accessibility.
“This is the first major milestone on the way to a fully electrified route between York, Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester, which will reduce journey times and save 87,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year."
To maintain an equally eco-friendly construction, the new overhead line equipment was assembled locally at the Alliance’s own Joseph Lynn Logistics Hub, near Sherburn-in-Elmet, and transported to site by train.
James Ramsden, TRU East Alliance’s delivery lead said: “The Alliance has worked incredibly hard to reach this milestone, and help Network Rail as it builds a greener network.”
“Our teams will continue installation work into the New Year, helping to modernise this part of the East Coast Main Line, to provide local communities with a better quality and more environmentally friendly service for the future.”
Work to connect the newly installed wires into the existing overhead line equipment at Colton Junction, will take place in the future, ahead of their energisation in 2024.