Wednesday, 29 January 2014

North gets wires, but campaigners want more

The first phase of the Liverpool-Manchester electrification, between Newton-le-Willows and Castlefield Junction went live on 30 December, with the introduction into service of the first Class 350 with Transpennine Express. The next section to Liverpool is due to be completed by next December, as is the line from Huyton to Wigan. The Preston to Blackpool line is due to be electrified by 2016, as is the Preston-Manchester (via Bolton) line and the Manchester-Leeds via Stalybridge route. Wigan-Bolton electrification is slated for 2017. Oxenholme-Windermere is currently at the planning stage.
But campaigners want more. The Halifax and District Rail Action Group (HADRAG) are calling for the electrification of the Calder valley line, which links Leeds and Manchester via Halifax and Rochdale. This line parallels the Stalybridge route and is used as a diversionary route by Transpennine Express trains.
Going east of Leeds, First Hull Trains are pushing for the electrification of the route to Hull. The city is due to become UK capital of culture in 2017, and it is an important port.

The long overdue electrification of these lines in the north of England will displace slow and uncomfortable Pacer railbuses from these routes, and provide faster, more comfortable and more environmentally-friendly train services.

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