UK rail plans steam ahead
The Government has announced £4.2 billion worth of new rail schemes, which include a £500m electrification of the Midland Main Line railway.
The plans also include electrification schemes from the Welsh valleys to the East Coast Main Line, a £500m rail link between the Great Western Main Line and Heathrow airport, and a £350m lengthening of platforms at London Waterloo – the UK’s busiest train terminal. The new emphasis on electrification signals a turn towards greener transport from the coalition.
With £5.2bn already committed to projects between 2014 and 2019, this brings the total injection into the rail network to £9.4bn. Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the new plans as "the biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian era", while Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, labeled it “the biggest expansion in railways in over 150 years”.
Among the plans already unveiled for the 2014 – 2019 period are the completion of the Crossrail and Thameslink schemes, and electrification between London and Cardiff, Manchester to Liverpool and Preston and across the Pennines.
Campaign for Better Transport chief executive Stephen Joseph was happy with the news of investment, but insists the plans cannot come with a huge increase in prices. He said: "Pricing people off the railways will mean many passengers simply won't be able to afford the benefits this investment will bring."