First TRU electric train completes test run between Manchester and Stalybridge

An electric train has completed its first test run, travelling between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge as part of the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) project.


This run tested the new electrification equipment installed along the route as part of the multi-billion-pound upgrade to the line between Manchester and York via Huddersfield and Leeds.

Specifically, this follows work completed by TRU in 2023, which included the installation of overhead line electrification (OLE) between Manchester Victoria, Stalybridge and Guide Bridge stations; the replacement of track to allow faster speeds; 25 new signals for closer spacing of trains and a higher-speed railway junction at Stalybridge.

Many of these key upgrades were completed as engineers worked ‘around the clock’ during a 26-day closure in March and April last year.

TRU said electric trains are set to run between Manchester and Stalybridge from the end of the year, bringing ‘greener, faster and more reliable journeys to the route.’

This section will be the first to be electrified, with the remainder of the route between Manchester and York set to be upgraded in the future.

TRU said it is also delivering station improvements along the route to enhance customer experience, comfort and accessibility, as well as a new digital signalling system to improve the reliability of the line.

Upgrades also include doubling the number of tracks between Huddersfield and Dewsbury to allow for greater capacity, meaning more seats for passengers and opportunities for increased freight.

In a statement, Neil Holm, managing director of TRU said: “This is a big achievement in our plans to bring cleaner, faster and better travel to the people of the North of England.

“People can see that TRU is very much in the delivery phase now and the benefits of all our teams’ hard work is starting to show. I would like to thank passengers and local residents who have supported us throughout the ongoing work.”

The train, a Northern Class 331, departed from Blackpool North and arrived at Manchester Piccadilly just before 12:00. It then travelled between Manchester Victoria and Stalybridge station while the tests were undertaken.

TRU will create and protect 8000 new roles during construction, with 60 per cent of the workforce employed from within 25 miles of the route and 80 per cent within 40 miles.

Looking ahead, TRU said electric trains will next be tested on the Eastern section of TRU later in the year, between York and Church Fenton.