Track and signalling

21.05.18

Use cancelled electrification savings to boost Welsh transport, say MPs

Savings from the cancelled electrification scheme should fund a Welsh transport boost, the Welsh Affairs Committee has said.

The committee argued that there is a “stark gap” in funding between Wales and other parts of the UK.

Committee chair, David Davies, said: “The failures in planning and delivery of the Great Western line, and in particular the stretch between Cardiff and Swansea, are well known. Projected costs and benefits were completely out of sync with reality.”

Despite 11% of the UK rail network running through Wales, just 1.5% of the money spent on rail enhancements is received by Wales, according to the Welsh government, which has also warned that the economic boost of HS2 for England could have a knock-on effect of reducing employment growth in Wales.

Cancelling the electrification project has created savings of at least £433m and the committee has said that the UK government should work with the Welsh government to identify cost-effective transport projects to spend the saved money on.

The committee argued that the electrification of the Swansea to Cardiff route would not provide a significant improvement to journey times, unless the line was straightened (allowing trains to travel at greater speeds) which it says the cost and benefits of should be investigated.

In a more radical proposal to reduce journey times between the two cities, the committee said that a new route via Baglan would almost halve journey times from 55 minutes to half an hour and should be explored.

Davies explained: “It is calculated that the cancellation of the rail electrification between Cardiff and Swansea has saved the government hundreds of millions of pounds, and this money can’t simply go back in the pot.

“Wales cannot have the only stretch of the line not to be improved then see the money saved go towards Crossrail 2 or the Northern Powerhouse. The money saved must be spent here in Wales.”

The committee called the planning work and project management for the upgrade of the stretch of line “superficial”, with surveys not providing an adequate picture of the work needed to be undertaken.

It said that Network Rail had failed to anticipate the bridges along the route that would need to be raised to accommodate the required electrical infrastructure and that the Department for Transport (DfT) did not develop a consolidated business case for the Great Western modernisation programme until a year after work had begun, and two years after new trains had been procured.

Both Network Rail and the DfT have indicated that they are learning lessons and have introduced new approaches to planning work.

The committee has said that they must demonstrate that these processes are robust and that the government must review the effectiveness of its new approach within 12 months, allowing the National Audit Office to provide independent scrutiny of how the processes are operating.

Top image: Joe Dunckley

 

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

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Maritime Transport launch new rail services

17/07/2019Maritime Transport launch new rail services

Maritime Transport has launched two new rail services from DP World London Gateway to its rail terminals in Trafford Park and Wakefield. It ... more >
Campaign for Windsor Link Railway to be revived

17/07/2019Campaign for Windsor Link Railway to be revived

A campaign for a rail link between Windsor and Heathrow Airport is to be revived, after the scheme was turned down by the Department for Transpor... more >
Conwy Valley Line to partly reopen tomorrow

17/07/2019Conwy Valley Line to partly reopen tomorrow

The Conwy Valley line is set to reopen for passengers ahead of the National Eisteddfod in Llanrwst, Network Rail has announced. Llandud... 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 >

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. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

05/06/2019Apprentice to Co-leading the Rail Sector Deal

In a series of Q&A’s with key speakers on the run up to TransCityRail Midlands, we caught up with TransCityRail panellist and Amey’s commercial account director, Anna Delvecchio, for her insight into what the Rail Sector Deal means for the rail industry and its supply chain. Anna started her career as an apprentice at the age o... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >
Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

02/07/2019Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

Smart electrification is the way to boost clean energy resources, argues Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action. Contractors are clear... more >
Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

02/07/2019Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

The TCR Midlands conference is only days away and tickets are going fast for the sector event of the year at the Vox Conference Centre in Birming... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

By Ewan Quayle, Rail Technology Magazine Reporter Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on R... more >