Latest Rail News

16.04.15

‘We’ve never done this kind of thing before’ says McLoughlin as electrification costs rise

The transport secretary says the reason that the Great Western Main Line electrification is over-budget is because “we've never done this kind of thing before”.

On a campaign visit to Cardiff, Patrick McLoughlin told BBC Wales: "We are doing in excess of 850 miles and we are working with the Assembly with the Valleys lines.

"Obviously we need to keep an eye on cost, but I hope as we get on with the job we can keep a control on those costs.

"There will be some cost increases because we've never done this kind of thing before."

McLoughlin added that the electrification plans were "value for money" and stressed that he hoped to meet the 2018 deadline for completion.

Speaking to the transport select committee in March, where he also said he “hoped” it would be completed on time, he mentioned the fact that the route goes through “several World Heritage sites” and some “very difficult tunnels”, and acknowledged the widely-reported “cost increase” in the project. He noted that the scheme involved 15,000 foundations, 14,000 masts, 1,500 signal upgrades and 50 station improvements.

The select committee warned that other electrification projects “should not be put at risk due to the projected overspend on the Great Western Main Line”.

McLoughlin added that he would be keeping up the “pressure” on Network Rail and the Office of Rail Regulation to ensure the project is completed to schedule.

Last year, RTM reported that Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne told the DfT that costs had swollen to £1.5bn, far beyond the original £600m estimate, the £874m predicted in the Strategic Business Plan, or the more recent £1bn estimate. 

(Image source: Stefan Wermuth/PA Wire)

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

Comments

Joel   17/04/2015 at 12:06

"in excess of 850 miles?" - nice to know politicians still try it on. He's hiding that it's 850 track miles, not route miles, and we HAVE don it before. Otherwise there would be no 'knitting' between London and Edinburgh/Glasgow. This is corrupt use of statistics, relying on public ignorance of fact to excuse incompetent planning - major infrastructure projects have to be under-priced to meet 'benefit:cost ratio' returns, because each analysis is completed on too narrow a focus and too short a timescale. This is deceit on as grand a scale as any other policy failure, but where the objective is still one where there is national benefit.

Tony   18/04/2015 at 09:18

What a load of old tosh Josh. Predicting costs on these sort of complicated engineering works has always been difficult. What matters in the end is to get the job done even though it may cost more! This has been a long overdue upgrade. Slagging off the minister for no real reason is not at all helpful and I'm afraid it is a particular British thing. Maybe you have some sort of political nasty agenda.Josh?

Joel   07/05/2015 at 12:04

Not tosh, 'Josh' (and I'm not 'Josh' either). I worked for long enough in planning (and building) major transport projects, so I'm keying from bitter experience of spineless senior managers and tunnel-visioned politicians of all hues. We have a nationally-flawed evaluation process for major infrastructure projects (fact) to keep accountants happy, notably in the Treasury. If I have a political agenda, I'll spell it out clearly and unambiguously; if I have a statement based on fact and experience, that too will be in the same manner. Which of the two options does my original fit, please?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Government gives ‘hugely important’ £208m Belfast Transport Hub the green light

22/03/2019Government gives ‘hugely important’ £208m Belfast Transport Hub the green light

A new £208m Belfast Transport Hub with major rail and bus connections has been granted planning permission by the Department of Infrastruct... more >
New to-the-minute measures for train punctuality introduced to tackle delays

22/03/2019New to-the-minute measures for train punctuality introduced to tackle delays

New measures of train punctuality are to be released by train operators and Network Rail next month in a bid to improve performance. The Rai... more >
FirstGroup finalises £100m order for Hitachi trains as plans for London-Edinburgh rail link move forward

22/03/2019FirstGroup finalises £100m order for Hitachi trains as plans for London-Edinburgh rail link move forward

FirstGroup has finalised a £100m order for Hitachi AT300 electric trainsets in a partnership between the two companies to create a new Lond... 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

Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

12/03/2019Women in rail - is the industry on the right track?

RTM sits down with Samantha Smith, sole female member of the TransPennine Route Upgrade Alliance Leadership Team, to find out more about encourag... 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 >
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 >

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

The West Midlands 30-year strategy

19/03/2019The West Midlands 30-year strategy

Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive (WMRE), outlines the West Midlands Rail Investment Strategy 2018-2047. Th... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

26-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

19/03/201926-30 Railcard: taking advantage of opportunities

After a nine-month national trial, the rail industry launched its seventh National Railcard for 26-30-year-olds on 2 January 2019. Rail Delivery ... more >
Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

19/03/2019Caledonian Sleeper: a railway icon re-imagined

The world-renowned Caledonian Sleeper, due to begin operations at the end of spring 2019, completed its first Scotland to London journey earlier ... more >
East West Rail: the next steps

19/03/2019East West Rail: the next steps

In January, five route options for the central section of East West Rail were published as part of a public consultation on the next phase of the... more >
Rail's role in transit-orientated developments

19/03/2019Rail's role in transit-orientated developments

Jonathan Bray, director at the Urban Transport Group (UTG), argues that transit-oriented developments are the future – and that rail has a ... more >