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

ORBIS: Turning track data into intelligence

22/01/2019ORBIS: Turning track data into intelligence

Track engineer Dan Collins explains how an app and an iPad are transforming track maintenance in Network Rail’s Western route. Carryin... more >
TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >
Trashing the 'ticket' train of thought

22/01/2019Trashing the 'ticket' train of thought

techUK recently published its Future Mobility Services report in which it presented its vision of a multimodal, digitally-enabled, and customer-f... 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

TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

22/01/2019TfN Strategic Transport Plan: not just for transport's sake

Peter Molyneux, Transport for the North’s (TfN’s) strategic roads director, has been leading on the development of the seven economic... more >
Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

22/01/2019Exclusive: Midlands Connect and WMRE talk collaboration and investment in the Midlands' railway

In the jigsaw puzzle of regional transport decision-making, there must be collaboration and compromise. Midlands Connect media lead James Bovill ... more >
Rail Ombudsman interview: RTM sits down with CEO Kevin Grix

20/12/2018Rail Ombudsman interview: RTM sits down with CEO Kevin Grix

In November, the first ever Rail Ombudsman was established in a bid to give passengers a free independent service to allow passengers to claim co... 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

Trashing the 'ticket' train of thought

22/01/2019Trashing the 'ticket' train of thought

techUK recently published its Future Mobility Services report in which it presented its vision of a multimodal, digitally-enabled, and customer-f... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

ORBIS: Turning track data into intelligence

22/01/2019ORBIS: Turning track data into intelligence

Track engineer Dan Collins explains how an app and an iPad are transforming track maintenance in Network Rail’s Western route. Carryin... more >
Siemens Deep Tube: Keeping London moving

22/01/2019Siemens Deep Tube: Keeping London moving

Paul Baines, sales director for rolling stock at Siemens Mobility Ltd, expands on the many benefits of the £1.5bn Deep Tube rolling stock c... more >
Guarding against the theft of survey equipment

22/01/2019Guarding against the theft of survey equipment

The high value of survey equipment used to collect geospatial data on the railways is increasingly attractive to opportunistic criminals. The Sur... more >
Repoint: revolutionising track switch

15/01/2019Repoint: revolutionising track switch

Sam Bemment, senior R&D engineer at Loughborough University, brings us an update on the Repoint project – a scheme which has transforme... more >