Rail investment announcement

16 July 2012

ASLEF today welcomed the High Level Output Specification (HLOS) announcement that in line with the former Labour government’s recommendations made in 2009 the coalition will invest £9.4 billion in rail over the next 7 years including electrification of the Midland Main line between Bedford and Sheffield and the Great Western Line to Swansea, two infrastructure developments the union has long campaigned for.

However ASLEF is concerned by the lack of a joined-up Government strategy to meet the energy demands of more rail electrification given expected surges in energy consumption and cost. With energy demands already exceeding production and expected to soar still further, the union believes now would be the ideal time to increase investment in renewable ‘green’ energy, to ensure the next generation of electrified trains are ultra low-carbon.

General Secretary Mick Whelan said, ‘while ASLEF welcomes this much needed rail infrastructure investment, we await the full details. The union believes, for instance, that any new electrification must be underpinned by low carbon energy including renewable energy. There’s also the small matter of what trains will run under these new wires and is a reminder of the complete absence of any strategic approach to rolling stock procurement from this or previous Governments.'

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