News: Yorkshire Post says rail project delays a ‘disaster’; Northern Powerhouse minister disagrees

Yorkshire Post  26th June 2015 “The Conservatives were accused of breaking election promises to Yorkshire voters after putting vital transport schemes on hold just weeks after polling day. Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin’s decision to halt the planned electrification of the transpennine route and the Midland mainline connecting London to Sheffield triggered a wave of criticism from across the region.

The announcement came just weeks after an election campaign during which the Conservatives repeatedly trumpeted their promises to invest in the region’s railways as part of their ‘northern powerhouse’ economic plan.”

Read more here.

27th June 2015 Andrew Jones, MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough and DfT minister responsible for implementing the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ responds.

“Yesterday, this paper accused the Government of betraying Yorkshire. Nothing could be further from the truth.In fact, this Government has already delivered more for rail passengers in Yorkshire over the past five years than in the previous 13. And we’ve only just begun. … Spending £38bn to upgrade the railway in the period to 2019 is still the plan. Not one penny of this money is being ‘cannibalised’ to pay for HS2 as some have suggested.

On routes between Sheffield and London, better services can and will be delivered before electrification. Electrification work will be paused but I want it to be part of future plans. In the meantime, we will deliver faster trains and better services for passengers on that route. On TransPennine services between Leeds and Manchester, we will deliver modern trains and additional capacity as part of the new franchise which begins next year. Pacers will disappear from the North’s railways.

… This is a pause, not a stop, and this change to the team will strengthen it to make sure we deliver. We remain hugely ambitious and that is why the budget remains intact.”

Read more here.