Leeds & West Yorkshire

Electrified train lines to cut TransPennine journey times

First TransPennine Express train arrives at York station
Image caption Train journey times are set to be cut between Leeds, York and Manchester

Train journey times between Leeds and Manchester are to be cut under plans to electrify the North TransPennine Express rail route.

The TransPennine route connects Leeds with Manchester and the North West.

The Leeds to Manchester journey will be cut from an hour to 45 minutes, in plans expected to be announced in the government's Autumn Statement.

George Osborne is expected to outline £30bn of private and public money to be spent on 40 road and rail projects.

Parts of the Leeds to York track which have not yet been electrified will also be upgraded, meaning the journey from York to Manchester would also be quicker.

The upgrade is due to take place over the coming decade.

Metro, West Yorkshire's public transport provider, said a faster service would encourage commuters to use public transport.

"Electrifying the route would make it an attractive alternative to the M62, reducing congestion on the often overcrowded motorway," said Metro chairman Councillor James Lewis.

'Shot in the arm'

Neil McLean of Leeds City Region, a local enterprise partnership, said the improved connectivity would be a "transformational shot in the arm to the economic fortunes of the North".

The National Infrastructure Plan will be financed by British pension funds and private investment, as well as from further cuts in the present spending round.

Meanwhile, plans have also been announced for a new £6.6m railway station at Wakefield Westgate to be completed by 2013.

Phil Verster, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: "Whilst the old station is undoubtedly a striking building, passengers at Westgate will be well aware that it is no longer fit for purpose."

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