The government is delaying a number of planned rail modernisation projects, with Labour claims voters have been “betrayed” but ministers say they only were made recently made aware that promised upgrades would have to be paused.
The £38 billion five year plan to overhaul Britain’s railways is being ‘reset’ because it is costing more and taking longer.
Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin has said electrification work would be “paused” on the Midland main line and on the Trans-Pennine route between Leeds and Manchester.
But electrification of the Great Western line remains a top priority. The Great Western line, links London – Oxford -Bristol – Cardiff.
Earlier this year it was announced that the electrification of the Leeds to Harrogate line was a high priority and in the top tier for the work, although a business still needed to be submitted.
Andrew Jones is the Harrogate and Knaresborough MP and the Department for Transport minister responsible for implementing the Northern Powerhouse.
Andrew Jones MP said:
It is important to be clear what has happened here.
Schemes have not been axed; funds have not been withdrawn.
This is a pause to ensure that we can deliver electrification and the improvements needed to our railways.
It is a pause to strengthen the team at Network Rail.
The organisation charged with the delivery of the £38bn upgrade, Network Rail, has simply not performed well enough and is some way from being able to complete the work asked of it.
Clearly, that is not something that can be left unaddressed.
That is why there have been significant changes at the top of Network Rail.
This is certainly not the end of the line for local electrification. The business case has been made, it is a powerful case and it has been accepted.
When looking at potential schemes for electrification the Leeds – Harrogate – York line was in the top tier of schemes for electrification.
None of this has – or will – change. The Government has taken action to address the problems with Network Rail’s growing costs and slipping timetables.
Although the situation will mean some delays to schemes, this early intervention will allow greater progress than if the situation had been left as has happened so often with large public sector investment schemes in the past.
Andrew Jones MP has confirmed that he was he was not aware of these delays prior to the election.