ASLEF welcomes Labour pledge on electrification

02 August 2017

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers' union, today welcomed Labour's pledge about modernising Britain's railways after Theresa May’s Conservative government abandoned plans to modernise Britain’s railway system – the much-needed and long-promised electrification of this country’s busy main lines.

The Tories announced they were halting plans to fully electrify the Midland main line, Great Western line, and parts of the Lake District. In a masterclass in Orwellian doublespeak, the Transport Secretary, trying desperately to turn a negative into a positive, said passengers would now not have to put up with ‘disruptive electrification works’ and ‘intrusive wires and masts’.

Mick welcomed Labour’s plans to deliver the infrastructure Britain needs with rail electrification and expansion across the whole country, including in Wales and the South West. He said: ‘Chris Grayling's decision is yet another reminder of the lack of ambition for the future which has beset the railway since privatisation and confirms that the government’s rail policy is no more than make do and mend. Bi-mode trains are more expensive, less reliable and slower to accelerate than electric trains. Passengers on packed trains today will be on even more packed trains in 10 years’ time. The failure of successive governments to develop a transport strategy has been a huge impediment to economic growth and social mobility which will only be worsened in a post-Brexit Britain. In contrast, the Labour party offers the prospect of building a better Britain.’

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