A bridge to the future in Huddersfield: A bridge to the future in Huddersfield

Wednesday 17 Aug 2022

A bridge to the future in Huddersfield

Region & Route:
| Eastern: North & East

Huddersfield has moved one step closer to welcoming cleaner, greener and more efficient electric trains this week, as a new, improved bridge was installed near Deighton railway station.

The 172-year-old footbridge on Fieldhouse Lane was replaced with a thinner and taller bridge, giving Transpennine Route Upgrade engineers the space needed to eventually install overhead electric wires. This will make it possible for electric trains to run through the area in future generations, bringing a cleaner, quieter railway for residents and passengers.

Rail passengers were able to keep their journeys on track, diverting via Brighouse and the Calder Valley line. An increased number of services along this line was made possible thanks to resilience work having been undertaken over the past two years, reinforcing the route's durability in the face of increased passenger numbers and the frequent heavy downpours that hit the region.  

Around 150 rail engineers worked around the clock - totalling 4,700 hours - to deliver this essential upgrade over two weekends (6-7 and 13-14 August). Despite this, road users were unaffected and pedestrians can now cross the bridge above the railway by foot once more.

Hannah Lomas, Principal Programme Sponsor for Network Rail, said: “Completely replacing Fieldhouse Lane bridge is a relatively small but important achievement for the Transpennine Route Upgrade. It takes us a step closer towards our future of faster, more frequent, more reliable rail travel on the Transpennine Main Line.

"We’re very pleased that passengers could continue to travel mostly by train over the weekends along the Calder Valley route. This was made possible through years of important resilience-boosting work to run more trains, reliably.

"As the Transport and Works Act Order has been approved, there’ll be many more major upgrades to come in this area.”

The successful Fieldhouse Lane bridge replacement is one key project in major plans to bring faster, more frequent, greener trains to the Transpennine Main Line. The Transpennine Route Upgrade will see significant improvements completed across the entirety of the Manchester to York line in the coming years.

Crucially, the new Fieldhouse Lane bridge opens up this section of the game-changing Transpennine Route Upgrade to allow the laying of more rail tracks, doubling the number of lines from two to four between Huddersfield and Westtown (Dewsbury). Once completed, this increase will make it possible for faster trains and greater capacity along the entire route.

Chris Nutton, Major Projects Director for TransPennine Express said: “The work carried out to completely replace Fieldhouse Lange bridge was another key milestone in the Transpennine Route Upgrade; delivering a railway fit for the 21st Century.

"I would like to thank customers for their cooperation whilst the important work took place.”

Due to restricted access on the site, the existing bridge was dismantled piece by piece, each weighing up to 16 tonnes, using a rail crane. A rail crane was used once more to install the new 3.5-metre-wide footbridge after it was transported from Greater Manchester to near Deighton railway station. It then made its final leg of the journey to Fieldhouse Lane before being lifted into place.  


Notes to Editors

  • The original bridge was installed around 1850. It increased in length to accommodate four tracking in 1880.
  • Due to restricted access, the 14 metre wide existing bridge was dismantled piece by piece, using a Kirow rail crane, with each section weighing up to 16 tonnes and the girders a hefty 28.5 tonnes.
  • Extensive design work and checks were undertaken with close collaboration between design, construction and assurance teams to ensure that the plans were achievable, safe and maintained global stability throughout all stages.
  • A rail crane was used once more for the installation of the new 3.5 metre wide footbridge.
  • The bridge deck was constructed in Irlam, Greater Manchester and transported as a single unit by road to the track access point within Hillhouse sidings, down the track towards Deighton station, where it was loaded onto a specially adapted trailer.
  • The new bridge is supported by concrete abutments weighing up to nearly 11 tonnes.

We’re transforming journeys across the North, better connecting towns and cities through more frequent, faster trains, running on a cleaner, greener and more reliable railway.

The total forecast cost range for the Transpennine Route Upgrade Programme is currently £9bn-£11.5bn and the expected completion dates of 2036 to 2041 for full realisation of benefits. However, the majority of benefits will be realised by the early 2030s.

TRU will bring passengers:

  • More trains to choose from and more seats. Our improvements will enable more trains to run between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds and York with up to six fast services every hour between Leeds and Manchester and up to two stopping services for local connectivity.
  • Faster journeys so you can travel to your favourite towns and cities more quickly. Our fastest journey times are forecast to be 63-66 minutes between Manchester and York and 41-42 minutes between Manchester and Leeds.
  • More reliable journeys with trains that run on-time
  • Better stations across the Transpennine route, bringing passengers a better travel experience through improved, more accessible stations
  • Greener travel, reducing our carbon footprint and improving air quality. Our plans aim to save up to 87,000 tonnes of carbon emissions each year – supporting the government’s Net Zero objectives. We’re also developing a proposal to move more goods by rail (up to 15 more freight trains each day.)
  • Together, these freight trains are expected to remove over 1,000 lorries off the road each day

Contact information

Passengers / community members
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Latest travel advice
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Louise Leighton
Media Relations Manager
Network Rail
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About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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