TSSA Raises Concerns Over Government Transpennine Commitment

Network Rail engineers in high vis doing overhead wires and improvement works at Leeds station

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has raised what he described as "real concerns" after Network Rail (NR) said it does not have the funds required to electrify two new stretches of the Transpennine Route, despite a promise from the Government.

Last year the Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, made a £589m commitment to ‘kickstart’ upgrade and electrification of the Transpennine main line between Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester. This was widely seen as a pledge to fund upgrade works from Huddersfield to Westtown, east of Dewsbury.

However, the Transport Network website is reporting that NR does not have sufficient funding for the works.

Commenting, transport union boss, Cortes said: “The Government needs to answer urgent questions about the proposed electrification of these Transpennine routes. Rail users across the North will not put up with broken promises and there are real concerns that is exactly what is happening here.

“Where is the so-called levelling up agenda if money earmarked for major projects is no more than a media gimmick? Grant Shapps and Boris Johnson must come clean, there must be no U-Turn on the Transpennine upgrades we were promised.

“Ministers must also realise that, alongside HS2, there’s a green imperative in continuing with a rolling programme of Transpennine electrification. This is not just about rebooting the economy of the North but delivering a fast, reliable and green rail network which will play a major role in decarbonisation.”

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