Government ‘now favours rail electrification’

10 June 2008

Despite initially refusing to commit the government to rail electrification, rail minister Ruth Kelly has announced that she now ‘sees great potential for a rolling programme of electrification’.

 

ASLEF general secretary Keith Norman welcomed the news. ‘We have campaigned over the years for increased electrification of the network,’ he said. ‘It could solve a variety of problems – cab conditions and environmental concerns among them.’

 

Ruth Kelly explained the reasons for the change in direction. ‘I believe the business and environmental case for electrification is growing fast. As a result we are going to step up our efforts through a cross-industry working group to re-examine the business case for electrification, explore how costs can be brought down much further and agree priority schemes.’

 

Keith says ASLEF will willingly play a positive part in such a process. ‘Electrification would not only would help deal with the soaring cost of oil, but would also lead to a cheaper, greener and more comfortable railway system for both staff and passengers,’ he said.

 

The Department for Transport hopes the review will be complete by the end of the year - leaving the Government in a clear position to move forward in 2009.

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