Funding for plans to electrify the Midland Main Line, improve the Sheffield to Manchester railway and add extra carriages to relieve overcrowding has been confirmed.
The Office of Rail Regulation has approved the schemes as part of £12 billion of investment between 2014 and 2019.
The electrification will involve the line from Sheffield to Bedford – as further south the Midland Main Line is already electrified – and between Bedford and Southampton.
Improvements between Sheffield and Manchester involve dualling the single track at Dore junction, adding a second platform at Dore and Totley Station, and providing four-track sections on the route so fast trains can overtake slow passenger services and freight.
The extra capacity on the line could allow a third express train in both directions between Sheffield and Manchester each hour, plus extra stopping services in the Hope Valley which currently run every two hours on weekdays.
Additional trains would be made available for Northern Rail’s local South Yorkshire services, and to lengthen trains on the Midland Main Line between Sheffield and London.
The extra diesel trains for Northern are currently running on lines in the north west.