Electrification Task Force Final Report Revealed

Patrick McLoughlin MP, Julie Hilling MP & Andrew Jones MP.

Patrick McLoughlin MP, Julie Hilling MP & Andrew Jones MP.

Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin MP, has received the Final report of the Electrification Task Force, created in December 2013 to determine how electrification could deliver greater economic growth in the north of England.

Thirty two routes were examined, and grouped into three distinct prioritisation tiers based on their ability to contribute to local economic plans, how they fit with other schemes, and the number of diesel kilometres of running they would replace.

The Task Force put economic growth and connectivity at the heart of their considerations, as part of the emerging ‘Northern Powerhouse’ concept. Accordingly, three core criteria were agreed: economic benefits; impact on services, costs and environment; and providing better train capacity and quality.

There are 12 routes in Tier One which the Task Force is recommending be progressed through outline base case work to feed into the initial industry plan / High Level Output Statement for Network Rail’s Control Period 6, which runs for five years from 2019.

  • 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
  • Warrington to Chester


Welcoming the report published by the Task Force today, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

“Between 2014 and 2019 more than £38 billion is being spent to improve and maintain our national rail network as part of the government’s long term economic plan. Electrification of the railways is a key part of that investment programme, with work underway across the North, the Midlands, and into South Wales.

“The electrification programme is central to our ambitious plans to transform the rail network across the country. It will enable the modern fleet of electric trains to run on the network, providing faster and more reliable journeys.

“I am grateful to the members of the Task Force for their work. I want to see a rolling plan for further electrification and this study will have a vital part to play in setting the agenda for 2019 and beyond. Network Rail will take the Task Force’s findings into account as it develops its nationwide plan to improve the nation’s railways.”


“I am delighted to present, on behalf of the Task Force, our report to the Secretary of State today,” said Andrew Jones MP, who Chaired the Task Force.

“It is a comprehensive report detailing where we think the priorities lie for rail electrification in the north. We have placed economic growth at the heart of this project and been working on the premise that all the lines of the north would be electrified, it is only a question of when. This report details where it should start.

“The work has been a real team effort. The Taskforce has brought together different political parties, different regions of the north and different tiers of government. It is a report from the north for the north.

“The need for rail electrification is significant. It is part of the improvements in infrastructure that we need in the north. We know how much there is to do and to do it we are looking at a task of generational scale. Indeed, this report is intended to look years ahead.

“It has been great to Chair this Taskforce, as we have worked so well together to produce an important report for directing future investment. I look forward to seeing the next steps on our recommendations because the north needs a rail network that is expanded and efficient, and electrification is key to achieving that.”

Working as an independent body, the Task Force membership was drawn from across the political spectrum and geography of the north. As well as Andrew Jones, Julie Hilling MP and Ian Swales MP were nominated by members of the All-Party Parliamentary Rail in the North Group. Rail North was represented by Cllr Dave Green (Leader, City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council) and Cllr Terry O’Neill (Leader, Warrington Borough Council).