Bradford is set to witness a surge in high-skilled job opportunities and enhanced rail services as one of the nation’s most significant rail improvement initiatives gains momentum.

Today, Rail Minister Huw Merriman unveiled plans as part of the government’s substantial £3.9 billion investment in the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU), confirming the establishment of a cutting-edge maintenance facility in Shipley.

Approximately £100 million will be allocated to develop the Shipley TrainCare Centre, bolstering the resilience of the rail network in the North of England.

This announcement comes amidst the rapid progress of the TRU project, aimed at revolutionizing travel between Manchester, Huddersfield, Leeds, and York, promising faster journey times and reduced carbon footprint.

During his visit to Shipley today, the Rail Minister will inspect the site earmarked for the new facility and engage with stakeholders from across the region, poised to benefit from and contribute to the project.

Rail Minister Huw Merriman said; “It’s great to be returning to West Yorkshire with another significant announcement to boost rail travel for passengers across the North, demonstrating this Government’s plan to invest in infrastructure and support the region’s huge potential for growth.

“Today marks my fourth visit to Bradford and its surrounding areas in the past five months, with this investment creating new jobs and more reliable services as we accelerate our multi-billion-pound Transpennine Route Upgrade to transform rail journeys for generations to come.”

Construction of the new maintenance facility, scheduled to commence this year, will cater to Northern’s electric train fleet in West Yorkshire, bringing essential maintenance closer to the heart of the North Transpennine Route, thereby enhancing reliability for passengers.

Neil Holm, Managing Director of TRU said; “We’re delighted to reveal our plans for this major investment in Shipley, demonstrating the Transpennine Route Upgrade’s commitment to supporting local communities and creating local jobs.

“This brand new depot will support rail services while we carry out essential improvements and will also leave long-lasting legacy benefits for the town going forward.”

Rob Warnes, Strategic Development Director for Northern, said; “We’re delighted to announce this investment in our brand new TrainCare Centre for Shipley. As the future home for most of our electric train fleets for West Yorkshire, the new site will bring a wealth of highly-skilled jobs into the region, as well as provide resilience for our network across the North.

“It will play a key part in helping us to deliver our plans for the Transpennine Route Upgrade and beyond.”

Moreover, the initiative is poised to invigorate the West Yorkshire economy by generating local job opportunities in Bradford and surrounding areas. The project aims to recruit 80% of its workforce from within a 40-mile radius of the route, with up to 100 highly skilled jobs and apprenticeships anticipated at the site.

Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe Leader of Bradford Council said; “We welcome this major investment in Shipley, which is another vote of confidence in the district from industry and further positions Bradford as a great place to do business.

“The new depot will be an important part of operating rail in the north of England, increasing service reliability for rail service users. A new state-of-the-art facility such as this is one of the many tangible improvements to the rail network we are supporting, delivering greener, more accessible trains across the north.

“Increasing employment opportunities and developing skills through regeneration are key priorities for the Council, so it’s great to hear that local jobs will be created to facilitate this project in the immediate term, as well as 92 permanent skilled posts being created in the longer term.”

Today’s announcement builds upon previous commitments made by the Rail Minister, including funding for a new platform at Forster Square station and the acceleration of master plans for a new station in Bradford.