Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Labour and rail transport

Further to my complaint yesterday about the lack of information about the Labour conference, I discovered that the transport topic was merged with a discussion of other economic items. I missed any coverage of contributions from the floor. The views of transport union officers would have been interesting.

However, I did catch an evangelistic speech by Lord Adonis. He made the case for the investment in rail over road in the near term, and promised interventions which would make life easier for both passengers and industrial users of the railway. Sadly, the Labour Party website has not yet seen fit to put up a video of the speech.

But why, oh why, couldn't Labour have embarked on this programme at the start of its ministry rather than at the fag-end of it? Even a few years later, a change of heart would have reaped benefits. Work on the electrification of the South Wales main line could have been under way in 2007, helping to ease the recession and providing a modern railway ready for the upturn predicted for next year.

There is consolation in that not only Liberal Democrats are committed to the future of rail, but also now the Conservative Party has signed up to green transport policies. Assuming we can believe the latter, all the parties are now on the right track.

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