Huddersfield Railway Station has celebrated its 175th anniversary – as the countdown starts to a major internal modernisation scheme.

Staff from Network Rail and TransPennine Express cut a specially-designed cake to mark the big birthday.

Opened in 1847, the station is Grade I-listed for its historical significance. Its classical frontage with eight Corinthian columns is widely regarded as one of the finest facades of any railway station in Britain.

While the exterior of the building will remain the same, inside the station will see extensive modernisation as part of the £1.5 billion TransPennine Route Upgrade, which will involve full electrification and a doubling of the tracks from two to four between Huddersfield and Westtown just outside Dewsbury.

Work on the station could start in early 2023 with two 30-day closures of the station planned in 2024 and 2025.

The station transformation includes:

  • Two new platforms and the extension of existing platforms to improve station capacity;
  • Improved accessibility – including new footbridge and lifts, and step-free access from the front entrance;
  • Sympathetic restoration of the station roof;
  • Additional toilet facilities;
  • Improved customer information system;
  • Track upgrades to support more trains;
  • The tearoom will be repaired and repainted and relocated on the same platform.

Victoria Jones, TransPennine Route Upgrade sponsor for Network Rail, said: “Over the next decade, Huddersfield station will undergo a major overhaul to create space for more frequent, faster trains and provide better facilities for the millions of passengers who use it each year.

“To celebrate the station’s 175th anniversary, we’re joining our industry partners to look back on its rich history and look forward to an exciting future. I’d like to thank the community for their ongoing support as we move closer to delivering this once-in-a-generation scheme.”

Daniel Fox, community manager for TransPennine Express, said: “Huddersfield station has been at the heart of the town’s community for the last 175 years and it was fantastic to celebrate its birthday alongside the rail industry and local stakeholders.

“The station will also be important in the town’s future and the investment that is coming through the TransPennine Route Upgrade will deliver a station and a railway truly fit for the 21st century.”

Former Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman once described Huddersfield station as “the most splendid in England” and in 2014 it was named in English Heritage’s top five great stations.

The TransPennine Route Upgrade will go well beyond Huddersfield station. Extra tracks, better stations and a fully electrified route will ultimately bring more frequent, faster journeys between York and Manchester, running on a greener, more reliable railway. New stations will be built at Mirfield and Ravensthorpe.

Announcing the Government’s £9 billion funding for the whole scheme, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps pledged use of the “best quality technology” and promised “gold standard” services.