Key rail routes will take longer with increased carbon emissions and cost more as a result of the Tory rail electrification cancellation.
Andy McDonald, Labour’s shadow transport secretary, said that the cancellation to the Midland Mainline, TransPennine express and Great Western routes will “threaten economic growth in areas of England and Wales already suffering from poor connectivity and underinvestment.”
The scrapping of the TransPennine electrification is thought to be the end of the proposed Northern Powerhouse’s Crossrail scheme, which may not now be a fully electrified network.
Journeys between Manchester and Liverpool will be 30 minutes, and those between Leeds and Newcastle will be 20 minutes longer. The electrification cancellation between Cardiff and Swansea part of the Great Western mainline risks the estimated 19 minute journey time saving between Swansea and London, on Super Express trains.
CO2 emissions are estimated by Network Rail to be 20 to 30 percent less with an electrified network compared to diesel trains, and maintenance costs for electric trains are a third lower than for diesel. Passenger fuel savings are thought to be equivalent to 19-26 pence per vehicle mile.
“Pulling the plug on electrification shows the Tories’ disregard for Wales and Yorkshire, which will continue to suffer from underinvestment, and proves the ‘Midlands Engine’ and the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ are just more empty slogans from this government,” McDonald continued.
“The Tories are trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes by claiming that diesel bi-mode trains will deliver the same benefits as electrification, despite saying for years that failure to electrify the network costs more in the long run, causes more pollution, worsens air quality, lessens capacity and makes services slower and less reliable.”
“Not only will Labour deliver the promised electrification, we will address the imbalance in transport infrastructure spending, committing to building a Crossrail for the North and enhancing and expanding the rail network in order to drive economic growth and rebalance our economy for the many not the few.”