Latest Rail News

06.11.14

Clegg pledges more money for electrification and Pacer replacement

Nick Clegg has dropped clear hints that money will be found for more electrification in the north and replacements for the Pacers in the upcoming Autumn Statement.

In media interviews this morning promoting the Northern Futures Summit, the deputy PM said he could not spell out explicitly what will appear in the Autumn Statement on 3 December. But he said the requests from people and councils in the north for transport infrastructure improvements are “perfectly reasonable” and that he is “very confident” that an announcement is on its way.

Clegg said: “I want a fully upgraded and electrified network between Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield by 2025.

“We also need to improve commuter services on lines that are not electrified. I want significant improvement – government money to buy better rolling stock to improve commuter routes in the north – also by 2025.”

He denounced the Pacers as “ancient” and “decrepit” and said: “They would not be deemed acceptable on London commuter lines, and they are not acceptable in the north.”

The DfT has recently rowed back on what had been thought guarantees to replace the Pacers, by referring to plans to “modernise” them instead. They were built in the mid-1980s as a stopgap but are still in use today, and making them compliant with disability access standards will be an expensive engineering commitment.  

Pacers also remain in service on some First Great Western and Arriva Trains Wales routes.

Stephen Joseph, the chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “The government needs to use both the autumn statement and the re-franchising of the north’s rail network to show it means business. That means upgrading services not just between Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester, but right across the north. We’ll also be looking for an expanded programme of electrification and a firm timetable for getting rid of all the ageing Pacer trains.”

(Photo of Nick Clegg: Crown Copyright. Courtesy Cabinet Office, Creative Commons).

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Mikeyb   06/11/2014 at 17:31

"And the band played Believe It If You Like!" Seriously, Cleggy has to convince George Osborne, Patrick McLoughlin plus civil servants in the DfT and I cannot see them agreeing to allow Northern Rail any brand-new DMUs. Particularly as there is already a plan to keep the Pacers going for at least another decade.

Add your comment

 

related

Rail industry Focus

View all News

Comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

14/11/2019Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

Rail Technology Magazine’s Matt Roberts explains the significant role data can play within the future development of the rail industry. Standing as a cornerstone of the UK transport network, the rail industry is forever striving to in... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

Interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >