Four services a day will link Castleford to Manchester and York. Credit: Network Rail

Castleford rail link open

For the first time since the 1970s, the town has a direct link to York as the first major station improvement project under the Transpennine Route Upgrade reaches completion.

A new service linking Castleford with York and Manchester was launched today, at an event which saw the official opening of the station’s new fully-accessible second platform.

The work to deliver the infrastructure improvements at Castleford has been carried out by the Transpennine Route Upgrade East Alliance, comprising Network Rail, J Murphy & Sons, Siemens, Systra and VolkerRail.

TransPennine Express will run four return journeys a day under the new service.

The TRU programme is a multi-billion pound major improvement scheme to deliver more frequent and faster trains between York, Leeds and Manchester “on a cleaner, greener and more reliable railway”.

The second platform is served by an accessible footbridge with stairs and lifts linking it to the recently enhanced station building and facilities. The station is managed by Northern.

Improvements to the station along with tracks and signalling system provide increased capacity and enables the use of the Castleford line to divert trains and keep passengers moving during major upgrades on the main line between York and Leeds.

Hannah Lomas, industry programme director for the Transpennine Route Upgrade, said: “The opening of the new platform and completion of the upgrade to the line through Castleford heralds a major moment in our efforts to transform travel across the North.

“It revitalises rail for those travelling to, through or from the town and also means that going forward we’ll be able to keep passengers moving on trains by diverting them via Castleford while we deliver future elements the major Transpennine Route Upgrade.”

Chris Jackson, managing director for TPE, said: “This service, introduced in our December timetable change, will boost connectivity across West Yorkshire.

“This significant milestone is a direct benefit of the Transpennine Route Upgrade, and our collaboration with Network Rail, Northern, and other industry partners.

“Over the coming years, our customers will start to experience more of the benefits of these upgrades, as we work together with our colleagues across the industry to transform the railways in the North.”

Yvette Cooper, MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford, described the opening as a “huge step forward” but added that “we need to build on it with better and more reliable connections across the Five Towns”.

Castleford station is also receiving £720,000 of station improvements as part of Transpennine Route Upgrades First & Last Mile programme, covering improved access, public artwork and the installation of CCTV.

The headline aim of the TRU programme is to deliver improvements enabling up to six fast services an hour between York, Leeds, Huddersfield – regularly ranked as one of the worst-performing stations in the country by consumer website On Time Trains – and Manchester.

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