Latest Rail News

03.08.17

Labour slams ‘disgraceful’ U-Turn on electrification projects

The recent cancellation of multiple electrification projects will lead to longer journeys, a higher cost of running the network and have a detrimental effect on the UK’s carbon emissions, the Labour Party has argued.

In a statement, shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said that the decision to slash the projects will mean that journey times will be considerably lengthened, including between Manchester and Liverpool where it could increase by nearly half an hour, and between Leeds and Newcastle by over 20 minutes.

Following the announcement, the government took heavy criticism from mayors in the north of England, who were unhappy that the projects had been scrapped just as Chris Grayling put his backing behind Crossrail 2.

When the cancellation of the projects was announced, the transport secretary argued that they were no longer necessary due to the provision of new bi-mode trains that could run on both electrified and normal network track.

But McDonald argued that the continued use of diesel trains means that the benefits of electrification to improving the environment will not be felt – as electrification can cut C02 emissions by over 20%-30% compared with using diesel trains.

He said that the government’s “disgraceful” U-Turn on their promise to deliver electrification on the Midland Mainline, TransPennine and Great Western routes will threaten economic growth in these areas.

“Pulling the plug on electrification shows the Tories’ disregard for Wales and Yorkshire, which will continue to suffer from underinvestment, and proves the Midlands engine and the northern powerhouse are just more empty slogans from this government,” McDonald explained.

“The Tories are trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes by claiming that diesel bi-mode trains will deliver the same benefits as electrification, despite saying for years that failure to electrify the network costs more in the long run, causes more pollution, worsens air quality, lessens capacity and makes services slower and less reliable.

“Not only will Labour deliver the promised electrification, we will address the imbalance in transport infrastructure spending, committing to building a Crossrail for the north and enhancing and expanding the rail network in order to drive economic growth and rebalance our economy.”

Union to campaign against electrification cancellations

The news comes as the Labour party pledged its support to a TSSA-led campaign against the Conservative’s cancellation of the electrification work.

The union’s general secretary, Manuel Cortes, said that “modern Britain needed modern railways with modern speeds”, adding that the government were the only party in the industry who didn’t think the electrification works were essential for the UK network.

“We will now be working to ensure that the next Labour manifesto prognoses to reverse the Tory’s broken promises and honour the commitment made to electrify the Midland Mainline and, the other cancelled electrification programmes across Britain, as soon as the next Labour government gets into power,” he said.

But a spokesperson for the DfT said that the government was still “completely committed” to improving services for passengers in every part of the country and that it was “nonsense” to suggest otherwise.

“By investing in new train technology, we’re able to deliver all the benefits of electrification, but without the disruption of massive engineering works,” they explained.  “We’re spending £55.7bn building HS2, which will provide a massive boost to the Northern Powerhouse by better connecting it to London and the Midlands.

“And we’re completely committed to working with Transport for the North as they develop their proposals for a high-speed Northern Powerhouse rail service across the Pennines.”

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Comments

Simon   03/08/2017 at 21:43

Why do they keep feeding us the same line about HS2? It will not benefit us here in the north, it will just promote brain drain to London and enhance the capital's economy. Tories - We don't believe a word you say anymore so don't bother feeding us any more lies.

Lutz   03/08/2017 at 23:36

As usual, Labour Party has total disregard for reality, and swoons in it's fantasy world of fake news, faulty logic, fabrications and bottomless pockets. Dream on.

Durhampete   04/08/2017 at 08:34

It is disgraceful, although I'm not holding my breath that a Corbyn government would treat the north with any better regard. He talks the talk but at the end of the day his constituency is still in London.

Mike Wilcock Retired Fashion Executive   04/08/2017 at 16:11

Here in Wales the correct decision has been made not to electrify Cardiff to Swansea. The new Bi Mode 800 run on diesel power past Cardiff. The general public were not aware of over bridge lifting,catenary installation and numerous substations spoiling the landscape

Thames Valley Rail User   04/08/2017 at 18:44

I am glad the further NORTHERN/WELSH projects cancelled. The projects to PROPERLY complete GWR, including branches needs to complete first. Government equals all of us as tax payers have to fund this mess. Good opportunity for 230 class conversions in the short term - 20 years or so. All this overhead has totally ruined large areas of scenic England. So once the overhead, with global warming - sagging overhead with hot weather expansion, storm winds to blow it down. Still say 3rd rail far better and REMOVE ALL LEVEL & Footpath crossings

Michael Gorman   06/08/2017 at 21:58

Whilst Comrade Corbyn is right to be outraged, one must never forget Labour's disgraceful history of railway destruction, from implementing most of the Beeching closures between '64 and '69, to the risible 13 miles of electrification completed in the Blair/Brown years.

Mark Hare   07/08/2017 at 10:27

@Thames Valley Rail User - remove all level and footpath crossings?? Why? All crossings are perfectly safe if members of the public use them correctly. The railway shouldn't have to spend millions, if not billions of pounds replacing crossings with bridges and tunnels because idiots try to 'beat the lights' or weave around barriers or don't look left and right before crossing the railway. It's about time people started taking responsibility for their own actions and not blaming everyone else for their own mistakes or recklessness.

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