Friday, 21 March 2014

Rail electrification

The Wales Secretary, David Jones, has held out the possibility of electrification of the railway in North Wales as a result of a development in the HS2 programme (Western Mail report here).

This is against the background of doubt being cast on the electrification of the Valleys Lines, centred on Cardiff. Labour in Cardiff Bay is now claiming that the coalition government is reneging on a promise to pay for the scheme from central funds. This is puzzling, as Adrian Masters reveals on the ITV news website: there is a statement in writing from last year that Whitehall would recover the costs from the Welsh Government. The fact that not one Labour MP raised the matter at Transport Questions in the Commons yesterday suggests to me that the party is batting on a sticky. One wonders whether the making public of this spat is more to do with the Wales Bill, published yesterday, than rail transport.

Meantime, it is good to see confirmation from the Western Mail that there will be no going back on Great Western main line electrification: "Mr Cameron pointed out that the UK Government is 'directly funding' the electrification of the Great Western Main Line to Cardiff, and 'have committed' to funding the electrification of the line from Bridgend to Swansea."

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