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Earlier this week Network Rail launched a consultation on its plans to expand and electrify the rail corridor between Huddersfield and Dewsbury in West Yorkshire as part of the £2.9bn Trans-Pennine electrification programme . You can find a link to the consultation here.

In the plans are proposals to increase tracks East from Huddersfield from two to four. Replace the flat junctions at Mirfield East and Thornhill LNW Jns with a grade seperated junction using either a flyover or dive under by Ravensthorpe station. As well as increasing track capacity, the line would be electrified all the way from Huddersfield to Leeds. Improvements would also be made to Huddersfield, Deighton, Mirfield and Ravensthorpe stations. The work would be carried out under a Transport and Works Act Order. Network Rail expect the application to be submitted to the Secretary of State for Transport in autumn 2020 with work beginning in 2021.

Here’s a look at some of the route in pictures, travelling from Huddersfield and heading East.

Looking East along the station throat at Huddersfield where the railway enters the town over a long viaduct which can accommodate four tracks as that’s what it’s carried on the past. There are proposals to increase the number of platforms at the station by building a new island platform on the site of the DMU stabling sidings. This shot was taken from the top of the old water tower (now ACoRP’s office) back in 2012.
The Preston Docks to Lindsay empty bitumen tank train approaching Mirfield in 2012. Just behind the end of the train is Heaton Lodge Junction where the line to Huddersfield swings to the left and the route to Brighouse diverges to the right. This junction is already grade-separated. As you can see, the formation used to be four-tracked. The fourth line was removed in 1986 when the junction was rationalised.
A shot taken in 2009, looking the other way from the previous image. A TPE service speeds past the site of the old Mirfield steam loco shed and rounds the curve to pass Mirfield station whilst a Westbound Northern service slows for signals as it will be overtaken by a Westbound TPE service at this point before crossing over to take the route to Brighouse. Four-tracking this section of line should remove these conflicts and speed up services as well as removing potentials for delays.
In 2014 a Leeds – Huddersfield service calls at the small wooden platform built on the Up Slow at Mirfield station. The width of the formation at this point is obvious. The tracks beyond at the Up and Down fast lines. Any train coming from the Up Healy Mills route has to use this line.
In 2012, a TPE service speeds West with Ravensthorpe station visible beyond the bridge. This is the site of the much-simplified Thornhill LNW junction which (nowadays) consists of one switch! The track the 185 occupies is bi-directional as it forms the Up Main from Dewsbury and also the Down L&Y which goes off to the right towards the former Healy Mills Marshalling yard. It’s this junction that Network Rail are proposing to replace with either a flyover or dive-under. The Calder Rd overbridge that can be seen in the background could present a challenge to building a flyover. It will be interesting to see what plans Network Rail come up with…
A 2009 view taken from the Calder Rd overbridge showing Ravensthorpe station with the former L&Y route via Healy Mills diverging to the right. The LNW route to Dewsbury and Leeds on the left was always two tracks. The L&Y used to be four. The area to the left of the railway station was the site of the hugevcoal powered Thornhill power power station that had extensive railway sidings. Now there’s a small combined cycle gas turbine power plant and industrial units.

I’ll be heading out to get some more pictures of the area shortly to detail other parts of the route and the challenges Network rail face. Deighton station is one of them. The present station was opened on the 26th April 1982 and consists of two wooden platforms built in a cutting on the site of the old four track formation. These will need to be demolished if the extra two tracks are to be reinstated.

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