The Stalybridge to Huddersfield line Rail Users’ Group (SHRUG) welcomes the announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the Manchester to Leeds Rail line is to be electrified. It will speed up journeys between these great northern cities and will boost both cities economically. It will assist businesses in these times of constraints and help to counter the north/south divide in a small way.
SHRUG expects that electrification will enable a 30 minute stopping service for all stations between Huddersfield and Manchester, later trains and better connections from Manchester, Stalybridge and Huddersfield.
To maximise the effect of the electrification SHRUG looks to the re-opening of the currently disused second bore tunnels between Diggle and Marsden. Currently there is a need to close the line for several weekends annually. This is to carry out safety work in the tunnels. When such work is carried the second tunnels could be used thus preventing closures.
The re-opening of the second tunnels would also form a passing point for the Express trains over the slower locals; so crucial on a line where timetabling is so tight. Additionally it would give a much greater chance that Diggle station is re-opened which is another of SHRUG’s aims.
Lastly SHRUG says, whilst the electrification of the line will greatly benefit the economy of both the Manchester and Leeds City regions, businesses also need workers and customers from the local intermediate stations. These people should not be forgotten at the expense of the needs of big cities. Passengers from local stations are an essential part of economic prosperity.