First Hull Trains’ ambitious plan to privately finance the electrification of around 70 miles of track between Hull and Selby has been given a major boost.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin confirmed in the House of Commons today (Thursday, 20th March) he has made £2.4m available to move the project to the next stage of development, GRIP Stage 3.

Will Dunnett, managing director at First Hull Trains, said: “This decision is good news for everyone at First Hull Trains and everyone in the city. It is testament both to the vision for the project and hard work invested that we've been able to persuade the Government to back us.

“The benefits of electrifying lines between Hull and Selby include higher capacity and more environmentally friendly trains, more reliable and faster services, and will increase connectivity not just to London but to Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and eventually to the planned HS2.

“How fast the scheme moves forward now is very much dependent on the Government.
“This is a scheme that has been supported at every step by colleagues within local government, MPs along the route and our fantastic workforce of more than 100.

“The scheme to GRIP 3 follows over a year of very detailed technical and commercial negotiations led by First Hull Trains which has moved the programme through two stages of approvals at a cost of over £1.5m.

“I'd like to thank the supporters of this scheme and look forward to their continued backing as we move this project forward together in the months and years ahead.”

First Hull Trains currently runs 90 services a week between Hull and London King’s Cross, stopping at Brough, Howden, Selby, Doncaster, Retford and Grantham and the move would allow the operator to replace its Class 180 diesel trains with new electric rolling stock which would improve reliability, reduce costs and bring added sustainability advantages.

Both Northern Trains and Transpennine Express are dedicated to a shift to electric vehicles would be likely to follow delivery of an electrification scheme to Hull.

What is GRIP Stage 3?

The Governance for Railway Investment Projects (GRIP) provides the process for which investment decisions in the railway are made.

As a scheme moves through the various GRIP stages, the level of detail increases in terms of scheme design and appraisal. At the end of each stage a gateway test of the proposals is set, and a decision as to whether further development work on the project is made.

There are eight stages to GRIP:

1. Output definition
2. Feasibility
3. Option selection
4. Single option development
5. Detailed design
6. Construction, test and commission
7. Scheme hand back
8. Project close out

GRIP Stage 3: Option Selection

The key input to this phase is the selection of a single option from those investigated through GRIP 1-2.

 The main deliverables at GRIP 3 include:

• Detailed Timetable simulation modelling (Network Rail, using RAILSYS)
• Outline design and cost estimation
• Further demand modelling and appraisal (if necessary)
• Stakeholder engagement
• Procurement (procurement strategy post GRIP 3)
• Environmental (scope EIA, habitat and species surveys)
• Planning powers to build and operate and land assembly (most appropriate planning route eg TWAO, DCO or permitted development)

Posted: 21/03/2014