Mark Eastwood MP: £4 billion Transpennine Route Upgrade

​​I have been campaigning on rail issues continuously since I became the Member of Parliament for Dewsbury, and so I’m delighted to be ending the year on a high note for our rail passengers.
Mark and Huw Merriman with apprentices at the TransPennine Upgrade site in Ravensthorpe.Mark and Huw Merriman with apprentices at the TransPennine Upgrade site in Ravensthorpe.
Mark and Huw Merriman with apprentices at the TransPennine Upgrade site in Ravensthorpe.

Mark Eastwood MP writes: Earlier this year, I raised the concerns that many people had sent me regarding the closure of Dewsbury’s ticket office, and I was pleased when our comments were taken on board and our ticket office was saved from closure.

Comments from people in Dewsbury about TransPennine Express’ failures on reliability and punctuality were also of great concern to me when it was announced the service would revert back to public ownership.

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The most important job is to get a service we can access and rely upon, which is why I’m so pleased about the work that’s going on in Ravensthorpe to upgrade the service between Dewsbury and Huddersfield.

Last week I visited the site with rail minister Huw Merriman to see the work happening on this £4 billion investment.

Crucially, it will take the lines from two to four – meaning that faster direct trains don’t get stuck behind slower ones.

This will not only reduce delays and cancellations, but also increase the number of services we’ll have access to on the line.

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And it will decrease the journey times between Leeds and Manchester on that route to just over 40 minutes.

But it’s not just the people taking the train that will benefit from this investment – the minister and I had the pleasure of meeting many of the apprentices working on the site in a range of highly skilled jobs that will be the start of meaningful careers in the rail and construction industries.

As the minister was keen to point out on the day – this represents a bigger investment than the UK Government’s investment in Crossrail, and creates the largest construction site in the North of England right here in the constituency, with over 80 per cent of the jobs created there going to people living in West Yorkshire.

I’ve been really pleased to be able to secure this kind of investment for Dewsbury – and the apprenticeship opportunities that will mean our young people have a bright future whatever educational path they choose.

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And that’s why I’m keen to ensure that work funded by the investment I’ve secured for our town centre starts as soon as possible too.

It’s hard to feel the benefits of successful bids until shovels go in the ground, extra workers are filling the sandwich shops at lunchtime and people start seeing changes to their surroundings.

I know that once we begin with this work we will start to feel the benefits of the legacy that I’m proud to be building for Dewsbury.

As we near the Christmas break, please note that my office will be closing on Friday, December 22 until the New Year.

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Please do feel free to still email over the Christmas period, but my team will be enjoying a well-earned break and will respond as soon as possible in the New Year.

Thank you for reading.

I wish you and your family a very Happy Christmas, and all the best for 2024.