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TSSA fear TfN announcement is more spin than substance

31 January 2019

Responding to this morning's announcement by Transport for the North (TfN) of plans for a £70bn plan to transform transport links across the north of England, TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said:

"I suspect many Northerners will have my ‘I'll believe it when I see it’ response to this announcement. Over the last decade one government quango after another has announced plans for rail travel in the North which normally turn out to be a load of southern hot air.

"Much needed and long scheduled electrification programmes were cancelled last year by the Minister for Transport Incompetence, Chris Grayling, leaving many local authorities' well-thought out plans for economic revival in the slow lane and fast connectivity between towns across the North and the Midlands in tatters.

"So any real here and now investment in Northern rail links would mean immediately reinstating those cancelled electrification upgrades. And longer term what is needed is a big national rail investment programme with the sort of infrastructure spend that only central government can guarantee as it will span decades.

"TfN vision may sound laudable. But they aren't a revenue making body. Nor is central government providing the investment needed to make its vision a reality. So without this backing, as part of a massive and integrated infrastructure programme in a publicly owned rail system, I'm afraid this is simply yet more spin over no substance. Northerners deserve so much better from a body purporting to represent their transport best interests."

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