The Transport and Works Act Order, which is required for any project that involves building new sections of railway outside of the existing boundaries, was approved by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on June 27 and has kick-started progress on one of the biggest applications ever made by Network Rail.
The mammoth scheme will see the “re-imagining” of the track layout, twice as many tracks installed, and major renovations at Huddersfield, Deighton and Mirfield stations, and a brand new station at Ravensthorpe.
A flyover near Ravensthorpe, which will separate the lines running to/from Wakefield with those to/from Leeds, to help reduce congestion.
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Past warnings about “massive disruption” as work is carried out in blocks and over weekends are now set to come true as the first road closure has been announced.
The B6118 at Colne Bridge will be shut for five days from 6pm on July 27 for survey work on the rail bridge near the Royal and Ancient pub. The busy route links Kirkheaton and Dalton with the A62 Leeds Road at Bradley junction.
Coun David Hall (Con, Liversedge and Gomersal) said the go-ahead for the TRU had “capacity to drive growth, regeneration and employment” throughout the district and asked what steps cabinet would be taking to maximise the opportunities the project afforded.
Coun Eric Firth (Lab, Dewsbury East) offered his assurance that the council would do everything it could and that discussions had taken place on bringing Network Rail “into our skills project”.
He added: “Planning applications are already being submitted for stations in Dewsbury in particular, and other applications are on the verge of being submitted.
“It’s really important that we get behind this and that the communities in Kirklees that will be affected gain some benefit from this as well.
"It’s vital that they do so. And I’m sure that Network Rail will be only too happy to become a partner in this.”
Coun Graham Turner (Lab, Golcar) said four bids were in the process of being submitted to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, which were supported by Network Rail.
He said: “We already have a working relationship with Network Rail about how we develop the economy – subject to those bids being successful, of course.
"They see us as a strategic partner in the redevelopment and economic growth of Kirklees.”