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The Huddersfield line is one of the busiest rail lines on the West Yorkshire MetroTrain network in Northern England. Services are operated by TransPennine Express (local and longer distance) and Northern (Local). The line connects Leeds and Huddersfield with Manchester (Victoria and Piccadilly), Manchester Airport and Liverpool.

Huddersfield line
First TransPennine Class 185, 185150, Mossley railway station (geograph 4005256).jpg
First TransPennine Express Class 185 Desiro at Mossley in 2014
Overview
LocaleWest Yorkshire
North West England
Yorkshire and the Humber
Operation
OwnerNetwork Rail
Operator(s)
Technical
Line length49 miles (79 km)
Track gaugeStandard gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Route map
Huddersfield line
Leeds
Leeds Central
Farnley and Wortley
Cottingley
Churwell
Morley
Batley
Staincliffe &
Batley Carr
Dewsbury
Ravensthorpe
Mirfield
Bradley
Kirkburton Branch
Deighton
Newtown Goods Yard
Huddersfield
Longwood and
Milnsbridge
Golcar
Slaithwaite
Marsden
Limit of West
Yorkshire Metro area
Diggle
Saddleworth
Moorgate
Greenfield
Mossley
Scout Tunnel
Stalybridge
Ashton-under-Lyne Manchester Metrolink BSicon BUS.svg
Guide Bridge
Fairfield
Droylsden
Gorton
Clayton Bridge
Park
Ashburys
Miles Platting
Ardwick
Manchester Victoria Manchester Metrolink
Manchester Piccadilly Manchester Metrolink
Liverpool Lime Street Merseyrail

Not served by
Huddersfield Line services

The route travels south-south west from Leeds through Dewsbury. After a short westward stretch through Mirfield (where it runs on the ex-L&YR section), it continues south west through Huddersfield, using the River Colne valley to its headwaters. The long Standedge Tunnel just after Marsden crosses under the watershed and the majority of the run down to Manchester is in the Tame valley. After Manchester, the line reaches the Liverpool and Manchester Railway line over Chat Moss to Liverpool.

The Government announced in November 2011 that this route would be electrified,[1] and electrification is currently scheduled to be completed by 2022, though not all the route will now be electrified.[2]

HistoryEdit

 
Westbound coal train between Ravensthorpe and Mirfield in 1953

At the time of the 1923 Grouping most of the route followed by the line was over London and North Western Railway (LNWR) metals, the exception being a short stretch around Mirfield which was the property of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (L&YR).[3] The first section of the line, between Huddersfield and Stalybridge, was opened by the Manchester, Stockport and Leeds Railway on 1 August 1849. The line became part of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway after 1923.

The route was furnished with an additional two tracks in 1894, thus giving four tracks between Stalybridge and Leeds. The loss of traffic through the second half of the 20th century saw these cut back to just two lines and the closure of the Micklehurst (Friezland) loop.[4]

The length of the line between Manchester Victoria and Holbeck Junction at Leeds is 49 miles (79 km),[5] though the Transpennine upgrade work covers the additional section to York which accounts for 76 miles (122 km).[6]

FutureEdit

From spring 2019, the whole route is being upgraded over the course of five years. Network rail state that this will include doubling the track in some places and upgrading stations as well as some of the intended Transpennine electrification programme.[7] The electrification has been curtailed in parts and as such, the sections between Stalybridge and Huddersfield, and a further section of 12 miles (19 km) east of Leeds will not be electrified. Emphasis has been placed on the bi-modal power of the new trains using the line; this will necessitate using diesel engines on the hillier sections of track.[8][9]

In August 2019, Network Rail announced a proposal to upgrade the track between Huddersfield and Dewsbury from two tracks to four. At the same time, they also stated their intent to electrify the line between Huddersfield and Leeds. The plans were being put out for public consultation.[10]

Route detailsEdit

Metro (West Yorkshire) pre-paid tickets and concessionary fares are available between Leeds and Marsden. Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) fares are available for the Greenfield-Manchester section.[11] Several of the intermediate stations listed were closed in the 1960s (as a result of the Beeching Axe, including many of those between Huddersfield & Manchester). All stations that are still open are in bold:

Leeds–Huddersfield
Huddersfield–Manchester
Manchester–Liverpool

ServicesEdit

TransPennine Express (TPE) operate the majority of the passenger services over the line as it is the core line linking the North West with Yorkshire and the North East.[13] Since privatisation in the 1990s, local services on the route have been operated by the Northern franchise (Arriva Trains Northern, Northern Rail and from 2016, Northern). The first incarnation, Arriva Trains Northern, also operated the express services between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, York, Middlesbrough and Newcastle before the Strategic Rail Authority spun the express train services off into a separate franchise, which is now run by TransPennine Express.[14]

At the May 2018 timetable change, the Northern services calling at the smaller stations on the section between Greater Manchester and Huddersfield, were transferred to TPE and combined into an hourly Manchester Piccadilly to Leeds service.[15] This also saw many of the TPE services diverted away from the Guide Bridge to Manchester Piccadilly corridor, so that through trains could use the newly opened Ordsall Chord. However, Northern still operate local services from Huddersfield to Sheffield, Leeds (via Bradford Interchange) and Wakefield.[16] Due to the change of line on the through Manchester services, the Liverpool trains no longer run on the line through Warrington Central, but instead travel via Newton-le-Willows.[17]

TPE provide six trains per hour in both directions between Stalybridge and Leeds;[18]

Ale trailEdit

Owing to a large number of easily accessed and nationally acclaimed pubs along the route (including pubs on the station platforms at Dewsbury, Huddersfield and Stalybridge), an "ale trail" along the route has become popular. Of particular interest are:

  • West Riding Licensed Refreshment Rooms (on the platform at Dewsbury Station, 2006 runner up CAMRA National Pub of the Year)[20]
  • The Kings Head, formerly known as The Station Tavern, in the east wing of Huddersfield station
  • The Head of Steam in the west wing of Huddersfield Station
  • The Commercial, The Shoulder of Mutton and The Swan in Slaithwaite
  • Riverhead, Marsden (with the Riverhead Brewery in the basement, in the town a little down from the station and tunnels)[21]
  • Station Buffet at Stalybridge (original Victorian Station Buffet with marble counter, on the platform at Stalybridge station)

The Trail featured on the BBC Oz and James Drink to Britain programme and consequently became very popular for drinkers in Manchester and Leeds. This has prompted some concerns over anti-social behaviour in the villages along the Trail.[22]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Government's green light for A6 link to Manchester Airport and electrification of train line to Leeds".
  2. ^ "Midland Main Line electrification unpaused – but delayed by years".
  3. ^ Haigh & Joy 1979, p. 55.
  4. ^ Nixon 1988, p. 71.
  5. ^ Body 1989, p. 111.
  6. ^ "Transpennine route upgrade". networkrail.co.uk. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  7. ^ Parsons, Rob (14 December 2018). "£2.9bn trans-Pennine rail project is 'preparing the ground' for further vital improvements, says Network Rail boss". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  8. ^ Pidd, Helen (7 December 2018). "Christopher Grayling may back 'flawed' TransPennine rail upgrade". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  9. ^ "Huddersfield rail electrification to be included in £2.9bn TransPennine upgrade in revealed 'confidential' information". Rail Technology Magazine. 15 January 2019. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Four TransPennine train stations set for revamp". BBC News. 20 August 2019. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  11. ^ "House of Commons – Transport – Written Evidence". publications.parliament.uk. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h Burgess 2014, p. 94.
  13. ^ James 2018, p. 34.
  14. ^ Harris, Nigel, ed. (20 August 2003). "First wins TransPennine Express and promises new 100mph trains". Rail Magazine. No. 468. Peterborough: Bauer Media. p. 10. ISSN 0953-4563.
  15. ^ James 2018, pp. 38–39.
  16. ^ Table 34 National Rail timetable, December 2018
  17. ^ "More Liverpool-Manchester fast journeys". BBC News. 9 April 2018. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  18. ^ "Train service changes this weekend – how they could affect you". The Wakefield Express. 18 May 2018. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  19. ^ James 2018, p. 38.
  20. ^ Gildea, Samantha (17 June 2016). "Real Ale Trail: Everything you need to know about the legendary pub crawl". Huddersfield Examiner. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  21. ^ "Ale trail 'hijacked' by stag parties". BBC News. 28 May 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  22. ^ "Alcohol restrictions on ale trail". BBC News. 16 June 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2019.

SourcesEdit

  • Body, Geoffrey (1989). Railways of the Eastern Region Volume 2: the Northern Operating Area. Wellingborough: Patrick Stephens. ISBN 1-85260-072-1.
  • Burgess, Neil (2014). The Lost Railways of Yorkshire's West Riding; the Central Section - Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, Leeds, Wakefield. Catrine: Stenlake. ISBN 9781840336573.
  • Haigh, A; Joy, David (1979). Yorkshire Railways. Clapham, Lancashire: Dalesman Books. ISBN 0-85206-553-1.
  • James, Robin (November 2018). "Changing Times at TransPennine Express". Today's Railways. No. 203. Sheffield: Platform 5. ISSN 1475-9713.
  • Nixon, L A (1988). Transpennine Rail Routes. Sparkford: OPC/Haynes. ISBN 0-86093-307-5.

External linksEdit