Huddersfield Railway Station will be closed for a month – twice – when modernisation work gets underway as part of the £1.5 billion rail electrification scheme.
As the date of a public inquiry is revealed, the scale of disruption facing Huddersfield has started to emerge.
The Department for Transport has announced that the public inquiry will be held at the John Smith’s Stadium from November 2.
And documents published ahead of the inquiry have given some insight into how much disruption will be caused.
The scheme will see electrification of the line between Huddersfield and Westtown just outside Dewsbury with the number of tracks doubled from two to four along most of the route.
Eight bridges will be rebuilt including a narrow bridge over the railway in Colne Bridge Road near to Bradley traffic lights. When work goes ahead the road could be closed for up to two years.
The scheme will also mean an internal modernisation of the historic grade I-listed Huddersfield Railway Station.
Deighton and Mirfield stations will also see significant upgrades and there will be a brand new station at Ravensthorpe.
Documents submitted to the inquiry have revealed that the scheme is due to start in January 2023 and be completed in June 2026.
It also reveals that Huddersfield Railway Station will have two “blockades” – extended periods of closure – in Easter 2024 and Easter 2025.
During the first blockade the station will be closed for 30 days and trains will be replaced by buses.
John William Street and Fitzwilliam Street will be closed for work on the railway bridge. During the blockade work will take place 24/7. There was no detail about the length of the second blockade.
Kirklees Council lodged a formal objection to the scheme by Network Rail, forcing the public inquiry.
Despite the objection, the council is not opposed to the investment and, conversely, is very much in favour of the scheme going ahead.
The council made the objection because it had a number of concerns about the sheer level of disruption – not just to the railway but the roads as well.
Though council officers had been talking to Network Rail since 2017, councillors felt they had been kept in the dark over many of the details.
When Kirklees Council agreed its objection at a meeting in July, Clr Will Simpson, Cabinet member for Greener Kirklees and Culture, said: “This is not a small matter and we don’t object like this for the fun of it.
“A scheme like this will inevitably have a big impact but we have not had proper information or adequate assurances on behalf of our residents.
“I don’t think any of us oppose this investment, we welcome it and we need it. But this is going to cause significant disruption.”
Clr Peter McBride, Cabinet member for Regeneration, said the Department for Transport had behaved “appallingly” and residents had to be protected as much as possible from the disruption.
The inquiry will be chaired by inspector Paul Singleton as Network Rail seeks wide-ranging powers under the scheme.
These include compulsory purchase of land, the permanent stopping up of footpaths and the closure of Huddersfield Broad Canal and the Calder & Hebble Navigation.
The Canal & River Trust and HD1 Developments Ltd, owner of the grade II-listed brick-built warehouse behind Huddersfield station, have also submitted formal objections.