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Conservatives break promises on rail electrification

by jamesbaker on 29 June, 2015

It’s less than two months since the general election, and already we have witness the Conservatives breaking their promises over the delivery of rail electrification and the creation of a’Northern Powerhouse’. George Osbourne’s promises of a Northern Powerhouse were a centrepiece of the Conservative’s election campaign in the North of England. Here in Halifax we had a visit from the Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin. During this meeting he met with the Conservative candidate Philip Allot and promised us 800 miles of electrification, including the Calder Valley line.

We are planning to do over 800 miles of electrification

Now the complete project is in disarray, with the Great Western route being prioritised and electrification of our line being ‘paused’. I think it’s right that we ask ourselves whether the Conservatives knew this project was in trouble when they made their pre-election promises. This is a massive set back for everyone who uses the trains here in Calderdale. It means we will be stuck with the outdated Pacer trains, slower journey times and fewer services for years to come.

   4 Comments

4 Responses

  1. Richard Gadsden says:

    Pacer replacement by 2020 is a separate promise (in the Northern Franchise tender document) which they haven’t broken yet.

    So we need to ho!d their feet to the fire on that one,

    • jamesbaker says:

      Ah that’s something at least Richard. So Northern would replace the Pacers with another disel train? Possibly the old D78s will be back on the table?

      • Richard Gadsden says:

        The ITT has a couple of things to say:

        5.4.2.2 (p.85): The Department requires a Franchisee who will procure and bring into service, no later than 1 January 2020, a minimum of 120 new carriages that are capable of being used to operate Passenger Services on non-electrified routes. They must be designed with future demand and users’ needs in mind, with a clear focus on passenger comfort and with a thoroughly modern passenger environment and exterior look. These must be newly-built (not re-using components from existing rolling stock) and, unless the Bidder intends for them to be hauled by a locomotive, must be capable of operating under their own power for significant distances on non-electrified routes.

        That excludes the D78s from that, but there’s then the question of whether 120 carriages – only 40 3-car units – is likely to be anything like enough. The D78s are compatible with the general rolling-stock requirements, so a franchisee could take on 120 new-build carriages and then some D78s on top.

        In addition, 5.4.2.1:

        The Department requires a Franchisee who will deliver the transformation of the Train Fleet that is necessary to meet the NRPS benchmarks for passenger satisfaction with trains specified in Schedule 7.2 of the Franchise Agreement, and who will (as a minimum) ensure that from 1 January 2020 onwards all rolling stock that forms part of the Train Fleet:

        v. Is fitted with bogies (and accordingly does not include any vehicles of Class 14x – “Pacers”).

      • Richard Gadsden says:

        In addition, you should note that there will be rather a lot of electrification in the NW. Currently complete is Liverpool-Manchester and Liverpool-St Helens-Wigan; under construction is Manchester-Bolton-Preston-Blackpool and Manchester-Stalybridge, scheduled is Lostock Junction-Wigan.

        And there are lots of class 319s heading up North from Thameslink once the new class 700s arrive, so there will be more electric trains than the franchisee can use. That will allow quite a lot of Pacer replacement on the Liverpool-Manchester-Wigan-Warrington lines, and Sprinters released from the longer routes can be migrated across the Pennines to allow for more Pacers to be scrapped.

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