DFT scraps network upgrades

25 June 2015

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has condemned Patrick McLoughlin’s decision to scrap plans for the electrification of the Midland main line from London to Sheffield. The Secretary of State for Transport said soaring costs and missed targets make Tory pledges of a £38.5 billion investment plan in the railway industry untenable.

Mick said: ‘It is disappointing – but perhaps not surprising – that plans announced by theTories before the general election have been scrapped so soon after the genera lelection. This, you remember, was the much-vaunted “biggest investment in Britain’s railways since Victorian times.” The electrification of the Midland main line was described as “critical to maintaining a reliable railway.” Now it’s been scrapped. Where does this leave those train companies who have bid for franchises on the basis of improvements to the infrastructure?

‘We believe in investment because we know that a modern railway is vital not just for those of us who work in this industry, but for passengers who use the network, and for the freight moved around the country by rail. Investment in infrastructure is vital for Britain to do business in the 21st century.

‘But the fragmentation of our industry, and the lack of an overarching strategy – the result of privatisation – has resulted in the escalation of costs of infrastructure upgrades and the supply chain. The government is letting down passengers, letting down business, letting down the train operating companies,and letting down those of who work on the railway.’

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