The Anonymous Widower

York And Church Fenton Electrification

This news item from Network Rail is entitled Yorkshire’s First New Electric Railway In 25 Years Set To Cut Carbon And Slash Journey Times.

This section summarised the work

Work began on the York to Church Fenton electrification scheme in October 2019, and to date has delivered:

  • 17 kilometres of new, more reliable track, ready to run faster trains
  • An innovative 65-metre-wide under-track crossing
  • 270 new steel masts, which carry the overhead electric wires

When the new wires are energised, they will allow more environmentally friendly hybrid trains to run along this section at speeds of up to 125mph – that’s 30mph faster than they currently run.

This OpenRailwayMap shows between York and Church Fenton.


red lines indicate 25 KVAC overhead electrification.

York is in the North-East corner of the map.

Church Fenton is in the South-West corner of the map.

The track marked in red going South is the Selby Diversion, which was built in 1983 to avoid the Selby coalfield. It joins the York and Church Fenton route at Colton Junction.

The Colton Junction and Church Fenton section is marked in red and black, indicating this section is being electrified.

This second OpenRailwayMap shows between Church Fenton and Neville Hill TMD in the East of Leeds.


  • Church Fenton is in the North-East corner of the map.
  • Neville Hill TMD is the big black blob in the middle of the West edge of the map.
  • The route marked in red and black will probably be the next to be electrified.
  • Between Leeds and Neville Hill is electrified.

Electrification of Church Fenton and Neville Hill TMD means that the electrification between Leeds and York would be complete.

These services use this route between Leeds and York.

  • TransPennine Express – 1 tph – Liverpool Lime Street and Newcastle
  • TransPennine Express – 1 tph – Manchester Airport and Redcar Central
  • CrossCountry – 1 tph – Plymouth and Edinburgh Waverley

In addition, the new electrified route will have other effects.

Electric trains will have direct electrified access to Neville Hill TMD from York.

Micklefield is only 42 miles from Hull and with charging at Hull, I suspect TransPennine’s Manchester Piccadilly and Hull service could go battery-electric.


July 12, 2022 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , ,


  1. So after nearly three years and 5 route miles of elecn isn’t complete and as usual EIS date isn’t even quoted not that there is much stock to make use of it. Only the Newcastle to Liverpool services are formed by bi mode stock other services are diesel operated. Why on earth they didn’t go all the way to Leeds is bizarre. Oh and running 125mph over current line speed over this distance is worth 25 seconds so its not going to improve journey times.

    If we are serious about decarbonisation we need get back to the halcyon days of the so called bad old 1970’s. Weaver Jcn to MOtherwell authorised March 1970 in service completed just over four years later. Then BR went on to show it wasn’t one off with ECML.

    Comment by Nicholas Lewis | July 12, 2022 | Reply

    • I think the reason this stretch was prioritised was because of HS2, which was originally planned to join N of CF, so that bit to Colton had to be electrified to be compatible. If HS2 was built as planned, then long-distance traffic from Lds could have used the HS2 line, bypassing the current line via Garforth. Now that that part of HS2 has been cancelled/delayed/whatever, electrifying that short stretch doesn’t really serve much purpose, as you say.

      The contrast with Scotland’s electrification progress becomes ever more stark. And if you want model for how to develop a high-speed rail system, look to Spain or China, not Britain.

      Comment by Peter Robins | August 12, 2022 | Reply

  2. The level crossing TWA has now been approved I’d assume NR will start on that reasonably promptly, so that should finish off the update on that particular stretch of track.

    Comment by Peter Robins | August 12, 2022 | Reply

  3. NR have just started a consultation on the upgrade for Leeds-Micklefield, concentrating for the moment on the work that needs a TWA order – there’s a PDF for anyone (like me) who prefers that format. The plan is to submit this next summer.

    They’re also upgrading the track/points/platforms at Castleford, and plan to use the line via C and Woodlesford as a diversion whilst they work on Lds-Micklefield.

    Comment by Peter Robins | October 28, 2022 | Reply

    • I think that this project could be the one where Network Rail turn the corner. It has everything; electrification, platforms, signalling, tracks and tunnels. If they could do it on time and on budget using Castleford as a diversion, the North might be more likely to believe that Network Rail and the Government are serious about levelling up the railways. But when complete, it should really improve the TransPennine route.

      Comment by AnonW | October 28, 2022 | Reply

      • there’s more on the works at Castleford at

        To be fair, carrying out a major upgrade like this whilst continuing to run trains along the line is a challenge.

        Comment by Peter Robins | October 28, 2022

      • NR have now completed the new footbridge, signalling, and crossover at Castleford. New/revived platform should be in use next year.

        Comment by Peter Robins | November 7, 2022

      • and the Castleford diversion is being used for the 1st time this w/e as NR are doing some work between Leeds and Neville Hill to “allow the future re-modellng of the track layout and support the electrification of the line east of Leeds”.

        Comment by Peter Robins | April 5, 2023

  4. I would think that the project in the area, is not much more difficult and complex, than the work done in North East London a few years ago. That had no problem, except that they found an unknown sewer.

    Comment by AnonW | October 28, 2022 | Reply

  5. NR say the wires for this stretch is now complete, though they still have to ‘join’ this to the ECML ready for ‘energisation’ in 2024

    Comment by Peter Robins | December 1, 2022 | Reply

    • It looks to me, that Network Rail have optimised the project, so that trains are not delayed, which given the problems in the North, is probably prudent. When they switch the current on there may be other bits of electrification to energise.

      Comment by AnonW | December 1, 2022 | Reply

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