Rail electrification of TransPennine line and Midland mainline resumes
30 September 2015
Louise Ellman MP, Chair of the Transport Committee, responds to announcement on electrification of TransPennine line and Midland mainline.
Louise Ellman MP said:
"I welcome today's announcement from the Secretary of State that the electrification of the TransPennine line and Midland mainline will resume however I am disappointed that the enhancements have been significantly delayed. These improvements are essential for faster journey times, more reliable services and for regeneration in the North.
The Government must now demonstrate that its delayed enhancement programme is sustainable and that Network Rail has the capability to deliver what it has promised on this revised timetable.
In June the Secretary of State asked Sir Peter Hendy, as the new chair of Network Rail, to report to him this autumn with a proposal for re-planning enhancements in a way that is efficient, deliverable and affordable. I look forward to reading Sir Peter's report, scheduled for November, which is likely to be an important first step for getting a grip on Network Rail's poor performance. I am asking the Secretary of State and Network Rail what today's announcement means for that review and what implications these spending commitments will have on the rest of the enhancement programme.
The Transport Committee I chaired last Parliament warned the Department in January that there were problems with escalating costs and poor planning and management. The spiralling costs that led to the pause in the electrification programme in June should have been foreseen. The Department must now explain what steps have been taken to ensure those mistakes are not repeated."