Rail passengers urged to check before they travel this Easter as work begins between Leeds and York: Network Rail is carrying out engineering this Easter with passengers advised to check before they travel

Tuesday 11 Apr 2017

Rail passengers urged to check before they travel this Easter as work begins between Leeds and York

London North Eastern & East Midlands

The first landmark step towards the transformation of the Transpennine Route between York and Manchester will take place this Easter weekend, with passengers urged to check their journeys before they travel.

Over the bank holiday Easter weekend, a time when fewer passengers use the railway, Network Rail will renew a vital junction at Micklefield in West Yorkshire which will improve reliability and train performance. This scheme is part of the Great North Rail Project and Britain's Railway Upgrade Plan.

The Transpennine Route Upgrade aims to deliver faster, longer, more frequent and more reliable services across the north of England, from Newcastle, Hull and York towards Manchester and Liverpool via Leeds. Network Rail is currently working on the development of potential infrastructure options for the Transpennine Route Upgrade and will submit these options to the Department for Transport (DfT) for consideration in December.

This first, 101-hour, meticulously planned project will mean some services are not able to run between Leeds and York this Easter weekend between 14 and 18 of April, with others diverted on alternative routes. Passengers are advised to plan ahead now and check before they make travel plans via their train operator or by visiting nationalrail.co.uk.

While the junction is being upgraded, additional work will take place to the track alignment through Micklefield station as well as work to extend Platform 2 to support longer trains in the future.

Jeremy Winsper, Senior Sponsor for Network Rail’s Transpennine Route Upgrade programme, said: “This is a first step towards delivering a faster and more reliable rail network to the east of the Pennines. This junction sees a large number of trains using it every day and is a vital path for passengers travelling through Leeds, bound for our major cities across the north, including Newcastle, Manchester and Hull.

“By renewing it at Easter, a time when traditionally fewer people travel by rail, we are increasing the long-term reliability and significantly reducing the risk of unplanned disruption in the future.”

Paul Barnfield, Regional Director for Northern, said: “The Easter work at Micklefield is a vital part of Network Rail’s project which will pave the way for our own modernisation programme.

“Once complete, this work will complement other improvements taking place across the region, including the refurbishment of all Northern trains and the introduction of 281 new, purpose built carriages, and will help us provide a rail service fit for the 21st Century.”

Kathryn O’Brien, Customer Experience Director for TransPennine Express, said: “The important work taking place outside Leeds over the upcoming Bank holiday will help create an improved railway for customers. 

“There will be changes to our services between York and Manchester and to and from Hull while in the North West, customers travelling between Manchester Victoria and Liverpool Lime Street are also encouraged to check before they travel.”



  • Network Rail is currently working on the potential infrastructure options for the Transpennine Route Upgrade and will submit these options to the Department for Transport (DfT) for consideration in December. An announcement from the DfT is then expected in due course.
  • The work at Micklefield is being delivered now to combine it with Network Rail’s planned renewal works.
  • Only when the full range of options for the Transpennine Route Upgrade has been explored and decided upon, the exact number of minutes saved/additional seats/additional services can be confirmed.
  • By 2022 the Great North Rail Project (GNRP), part of Britain's Railway Upgrade Plan, will have delivered more than £1bn of improvements for customers across the north of England. It will enable hundreds more trains to run each day: more trains with more seats, running more quickly and more reliably. Train customers are the immediate beneficiaries of improved transport links (or connectivity) between towns and cities in the North.
  • For more information on the Great North Rail Project, visit our website

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - Toby Higgins
Media relations manager (London North Eastern & East Midlands route)
Network Rail
01904 383180 / 07850 406724

About Network Rail

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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