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Cancelled Rail electrification schemes: Secretary of State recalled for evidence

21 December 2017

Chris Grayling MP has been recalled to the Transport Committee to give further evidence on cancelled rail electrification schemes.

On 22 January, the Secretary of State is given the opportunity to produce the information previously requested by the Committee, explain his responses to requests for further information from the Committee, and outline the reasoning that underpins his decision to replace three rail electrification schemes with bi-mode trains.

In July, the Secretary of State announced that bi-mode trains would be used instead of rail electrification schemes on three lines:

  • Midland Mainline (MML), north of Kettering to Sheffield and Nottingham
  • Great Western Mainline (GWML), west of Cardiff
  • And on the Lakes Line (LL) between Windermere and Oxenholme

Previous session with Secretary of State

The Secretary of State was questioned about the decision during his evidence before the Committee on 16 October. He undertook to provide further information on the benefit costs ratios (BCRs) for the three proposed schemes. The Committee has published its correspondence with the Secretary of State; it has not been given all the information it requested.

In the meantime, the Department for Transport released documents, in response to a request under the Freedom of Information Act, that showed, in the context of the MML scheme, that bi-modes are substantially costlier to run.

Chair's comment

The Chair of the Transport Select Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, said:

"Being accountable to Parliament means ministers must explain and justify the decisions they take. I am pleased that the Secretary of State will appear before the Transport Committee again in January and I hope that after this session we will better understand his decision to cancel planned rail electrification schemes. The choices the Government have made lock us into a mode of operation that will persist for many years and we need to test and challenge their position to ensure it is robust." 


July 2017Secretary of State's decision announced
September 2017Department release Midland Mainline Upgrade Programme: Economic Case, prepared by Atkins for the Department for Transport, 28 September 2016, and Business case for rolling stock on the east midlands franchise, February 2017, in response to freedom of information request (Response F0015020 – see DfT disclosure log)
16 October 2017Transcript of the Secretary of State's evidence session
17 October 2017Chair writes to set out the information required
25 October 2017Secretary of State response published
2 November 2017Chair writes to Secretary of State again to seek further information
29 November 2017Secretary of State's second response published

Further information

Image: PA