Latest Rail News

02.07.18

Urgent clarity needed amid claims that TransPennine electrification will be scrapped

The government has come under fire after claims it will reverse its decision to electrify the TransPennine rail route connecting Manchester to Leeds and York.

Last summer, transport secretary Chris Grayling suggested that the government could pull the plug on the scheme when he announced that three other electrification programmes were being cancelled.

He did later choose TransPennine to be the country’s first digitally-controlled intercity route, but did not clarify whether electrification would still form part of upgrade plans despite intense pressure from northern transport bodies and Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.

According to Grayling, electrification is expensive and difficult to implement, especially alongside the escalating costs of other projects being carried out by Network Rail. He has instead voiced support for bi-mode trains that can run on both diesel and electric.

A report from The Sunday Times has now claimed that a decision has officially been made to cancel the scheme in the north. This follows on from last year’s suggestions that the programme would be rolled back after Grayling argued it may be “too difficult” to proceed with electrification along the entire route.

Burnham responded to the claim: “At a time when we are looking to phase out diesel cars, it seems that this government thinks it is acceptable to have diesel trains running across the north of England for decades to come. That tells you all need to know about how they view the north.

“If today’s report is not true, the government needs to make that clear immediately. Failure to do so will continue to erode trust in the whole concept of a Northern Powerhouse.”

However, a DfT spokesperson told the Guardian that no announcement is due to be made. They said the department is working with Network Rail and Transport for the North to determine the best way to achieve major improvements as part of the £3bn route upgrade programme.

“Network Rail has established options for infrastructure works that could deliver these improved journeys and we are considering these before making further decisions later this year,” added the DfT.

Last week, the Transport Select Committee released a report arguing that announcing funding for Crossrail 2 only four days after the cancellation of three electrification schemes shows that the government is focusing in certain areas of the country over others.

Lillian Greenwood, chair of the Committee, said: “Some regions have faced decades of under-investment in their parts of the rail network. They deserve to have a clear sense of what the government is doing to help them attract transport investment and grow economically.

“The Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine will struggle to live up to their names without tangible change.”

The committee has also recommended that the electrification schemes be categorised as ‘pending’ and placed in the Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline until a reduction in cost can be worked out.

Enjoying RTM? Subscribe here to receive our weekly news updates or click here to receive a copy of the magazine!

Image credit: wcjohnston, iStock Images

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Clapham Junction disaster lessons are ‘fading’ from rail industry following London Waterloo collision last year, RAIB finds

19/11/2018Clapham Junction disaster lessons are ‘fading’ from rail industry following London Waterloo collision last year, RAIB finds

Errors made during the derailment of a London Waterloo train last year showed lessons learned from the 1988 Clapham Junction disaster were &ldquo... more >
Wales and Borders rail to receive £2bn government funding

19/11/2018Wales and Borders rail to receive £2bn government funding

Network Rail Wales and Borders has announced £2bn in government funding to be spent on a project to maintain and renew the Wales and Border... more >
HS2 kicks off the bid race to build Curzon Street station

19/11/2018HS2 kicks off the bid race to build Curzon Street station

HS2 has announced the start of its search for contractors to build its new £435m Curzon Street station. Around four contractors will b... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Finding positives in negative short-circuiting devices

09/11/2018Finding positives in negative short-circuiting devices

Sponsored interview  Anything that brings about safety and time-saving benefits is a valued improvement for the rail industry, which is w... more >
Taking to the skies

30/10/2018Taking to the skies

Network Rail’s commitment to driving innovation is best encapsulated by its latest scheme involving high-definition imagery drones, or UAVs... more >
Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

29/08/2018Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

RTM’s Jack Donnelly sat down with one of the leading minds behind Network Rail’s most advanced and innovative rail maintenance techno... more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Elizabeth Line: short-term pain for long-term gain?

13/11/2018Elizabeth Line: short-term pain for long-term gain?

Tim Bellenger, director of policy and investigation at London TravelWatch, discusses the deferred opening of the central section of the Elizabeth... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

Challenging the perceptions of rail

13/11/2018Challenging the perceptions of rail

Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Rail Industry Association (RIA) explains how the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme is challenging people’... more >
Data-driven rail

13/11/2018Data-driven rail

Andy Cross, director of Elastacloud, and Lucy Bealing, from the Elastacloud Rail Centre of Excellence, discuss their innovative collaboration wit... more >
Looking ahead to the Williams Review

13/11/2018Looking ahead to the Williams Review

Darren Shirley, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, takes a look at the government’s root and branch review of the rail s... more >
Digital Railway: All change on the ECML

06/11/2018Digital Railway: All change on the ECML

Network Rail route programme director, Toufic Machnouk, explains why only a radically new approach to contracting will deliver a better service f... more >