Further plans unveiled to improve rail journeys in the North

New depot in Shipley will bring essential maintenance works closer to the north Transpennine route and increase reliability for passengers

  • passengers to benefit from a more resilient rail network in West Yorkshire thanks to new, government-funded maintenance depot in Shipley
  • Rail Minister Huw Merriman visits the depot’s construction site, which will support skilled jobs and apprenticeships across the region
  • forms part of £3.9 billion investment in the Transpennine route upgrade to deliver faster, more reliable rail journeys between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York

High-skilled jobs and more reliable journeys will be created in Bradford as momentum continues to deliver one of the country’s largest rail improvement projects.

Rail Minister Huw Merriman has today (14 March 2024) confirmed plans as part of the government’s £3.9 billion investment into the Transpennine route upgrade (TRU) to build a new maintenance facility in Shipley.

Around £100 million will be provided to deliver what will be known as the Shipley TrainCare Centre, which will provide extra resilience to the North of England’s rail network.

It comes as work on the TRU project continues at pace to transform journeys between the key northern cities of Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York, creating quicker journey times and reduced carbon emissions.

As part of a visit to Shipley today, the Rail Minister will attend the site of the new facility and meet people from across the region, who will work on and benefit from the project.

Rail Minister, Huw Merriman, said:

"It’s great to be returning to West Yorkshire with another significant announcement to boost rail travel for passengers across the North, demonstrating this government’s plan to investing in infrastructure and support the region’s huge potential for growth.

"Today marks my fourth visit to Bradford and its surrounding areas in the past 5 months, with this investment creating new jobs and more reliable services as we accelerate our multi-billion-pound Transpennine route upgrade to transform rail journeys for generations to come."

With construction set to begin this year, the new maintenance facility will be home to Northern’s electric fleet of trains operating across West Yorkshire, bringing essential maintenance works closer to the centre of the north Transpennine route, leading to increased reliability for passengers.

Neil Holm, Managing Director of TRU, said:

"We’re delighted to reveal our plans for this major investment in Shipley, demonstrating the Transpennine route upgrade’s commitment to supporting local communities and creating local jobs.

"This brand new depot will support rail services while we carry out essential improvements and will also leave long-lasting legacy benefits for the town going forward."

Rob Warnes, Strategic Development Director for Northern, said:

"We’re delighted to announce this investment in our brand new TrainCare Centre for Shipley. As the future home for most of our electric train fleets for West Yorkshire, the new site will bring a wealth of highly-skilled jobs into the region, as well as providing resilience for our network across the North.

"It will play a key part in helping us to deliver our plans for the Transpennine route upgrade and beyond."

It will also provide a boost to the West Yorkshire economy by creating local employment opportunities in Bradford and surrounding towns, with the project set to hire 80% of its workforce from within a 40-mile radius of the route.

As many as 100 highly skilled jobs will be supported at the site, as well as apprenticeships, building on the hundreds of opportunities created for young people as part of the Transpennine route upgrade so far.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said:

"We welcome this major investment in Shipley, which is another vote of confidence in the district from industry and further positions Bradford as a great place to do business.

"The new depot will be an important part of operating rail in the north of England, increasing service reliability for rail service users. A new state-of-the-art facility such as this is one of the many tangible improvements to the rail network we are supporting, delivering greener, more accessible trains across the north.

"Increasing employment opportunities and developing skills through regeneration are key priorities for the council, so it’s great to hear that local jobs will be created to facilitate this project in the immediate term, as well as 92 permanent skilled posts being created in the longer term."

Today’s announcement builds on the Rail Minister’s visit to Bradford in January to announce £24 million towards a new platform at Forster Square station, as well as his visit in November 2023 to release £400,000 to accelerate master plans for a new station in the city.

The new station was committed as part of the government’s Network North plan to improve local transport, made possible by reallocated High Speed 2 (HS2) funding. This will support regeneration efforts in the UK’s seventh-largest city while facilitating a new rail connection to Manchester via Huddersfield – almost halving journey times and doubling both the frequency of services and capacity with up to an extra 1,000 seats per hour.

The TRU project underpins the delivery of Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR), which the government recently strengthened its support for by pledging a further £12 billion into its delivery to better connect Liverpool and Manchester through Network North. The Transpennine route upgrade followed by NPR demonstrates the government’s commitment to investing in infrastructure to improve rail connections right across the North of England.

From: Department for Transport and Huw Merriman MP