Chancellor's rail announcements

16 March 2016

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has cautiously welcomed announcements on transport infrastructure spending made in the Budget today.

Mick said: ‘Those of us who work on the railway always welcome spending on infrastructure to improve our industry. Because we know just how important a first class rail network is for a first world economy in the 21st century. Our railways – a tribute to Victorian engineering but in need of money for modernisation – are crying out for the investment to carry passengers quickly, safely, and in comfort, and to help move goods around the country from factories to shops.

‘So we welcome the Chancellor’s proposals on Crossrail 2, running north-south across the capital, and the rail link across the Pennines between Manchester and Leeds.

‘But we have heard these announcements before. The Chancellor has become the master,as he manoeuvres to replace David Cameron as Conservative Party leader when the Prime Minister steps down, of announcing spending over and over again in the hope we will think he is investing more in Britain than he actually is.

‘There is also a question mark over delivery. The Chancellor has a track record – as we saw on Great Western and TPE – of making an announcement that is then either postponed or cancelled.’

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