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31.07.15

Electrification issues: Who knew what and when?

The date for when Network Rail started to see costs for some enhancement and electrification schemes exceed the amounts listed in the budget for CP5 seem to be getting earlier and earlier on a week-by-week basis. 

Last week, RTM reported that Mark Carne sent a letter to shadow rail minister Lilian Greenwood MP making it clear that ‘deferral’ of major schemes was being considered back in March 2015. 

But it was noted that since September 2014 Network Rail continued to keep the DfT and ORR “fully informed about the continuing cost pressures”. 

Now, following a Parliamentary question from Labour’s Lord Snape, transport minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said that by spring 2014 – the start of CP5 – “as Network Rail began to develop designs for its enhancements to a greater level of maturity, it identified increases in cost forecasts on some of the major electrification schemes and discussed these forecasts with the DfT and the ORR”. 

It also undermines the transport secretary’s position as, during a recent debate in the Commons, he dodged questions about when he found out projects would need to be deferred. 

At the time, he said: “The first time I was told that a pause was needed was a week before I made the statement to the House [on June 25].”

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