Task Force report identifies electrification priorities for the north
The North of England Electrification Task Force has published its report, identifying which rail routes in the region which should be prioritised for electrification.
The Task Force, which comprised three MPs and two local authority leaders, considered the 32 routes which are not currently electrified and ranked them based on priority need. The criteria for ranking and the weighting given to each were:
- Economic benefits to individuals and society (50%);
- Impact on services, costs and environment (20%); and
- Capacity and Quality of rolling stock (30%).
The report used standard forecasting tools to interpret data from a variety of sources and scored each route based on the three criteria. The routes were then grouped into three tiers based on priority need.
The Task Force recommends that the schemes in Tier One, the highest priority group, should be considered in the funding cycle for Control Period 6 (2019-24). In order of priority, the Tier One schemes are:
- Calder Valley (Full);
- Liverpool to Manchester via Warrington Central;
- Southport/Kirkby to Salford Crescent;
- Chester to Stockport;
- Northallerton to Middlesbrough;
- Leeds to York via Harrogate;
- Selby to Hull;
- Sheffield (Meadowhall) to Leeds via Barnsley / Castleford & connections;
- Bolton to Clitheroe;
- Sheffield to Doncaster/Wakefield Westgate (Dearne Valley);
- Hazel Grove to Buxton; and
- Warrington to Chester.
These 12 schemes would require the electrification of a total of 1,450 track kilometres.
The report recommends that eight Tier Two schemes, which together comprise a total of 950 track km, are developed for funding post CP6 (2024) but may also be considered for alternative approaches. Routes in this category include the Hope Valley line (Manchester to Sheffield) and the York-Scarborough branch line.
Tier Three schemes are longer term projects and are recommended to be served by ‘modern diesel trains’ in the interim period. The 12 routes in this tier comprise a total of 1,600 track km, and include mostly rural routes and lightly used lines.
The report was presented to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin at Sheffield station on 5 March. Its recommendations will now be considered by the government as part of the development of a comprehensive transport strategy for the north of England.