Redcar MP Ian Swales has revealed he is “confident that the Northallerton to Middlesbrough line is going to be given a very high priority… I have seen the draft report and this is a battle that is being won”.
Swales’ comments came on January 22, ahead of the final meeting of the Department for Transport’s Electrification Task Force, of which he is a member.
At the moment the DfT’s plan for the North TransPennine route is to wire Manchester-Huddersfield-Leeds-York by 2018, although this is likely to slip a year or two in the current appraisal of the project being carried out by the Office of Rail Regulation. (The Liverpool-Manchester section goes live in the next few weeks.) That plan means First TransPennine Express trains to Middlesbrough (and to Scarborough and Hull) will remain diesel-powered, unless a bi-mode (electric and self-powered) solution emerges rapidly.
First Hull Trains is seeking to part-fund the wiring from the East Coast Main Line via Selby and Hull, and both this and the Middlesbrough project are favourites to be adopted by the Task Force as recommendations to follow on from the TPE project in the early 2020s.
The Task Force’s report is due to be presented to the Secretary of State for Transport towards the end of February.