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DfT defers four Great Western electrification projects

9 November 2016  •  Author: Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, European Railway Review

Rail Minister Paul Maynard MP has confirmed four Great Western electrification projects are being deferred following outcomes of the Hendy review.

DfT defers four Great Western electrification projects

In a written statement to Parliament, Rail Minister Paul Maynard MP confirmed that four electrification projects part of the programme of work along the Great Western route are to be deferred. The move follows re-planning of work as a consequence of the publication of a review into Network Rail’s delivery plan by Sir Peter Hendy.

In the statement Mr Maynard said, “As a result of this scrutiny from the Hendy review I have decided to defer 4 electrification projects that are part of the programme of work along the Great Western route.”

Great Western electrification projects being delayed…

  • electrification between Oxford and Didcot Parkway
  • electrification of Filton Bank (Bristol Parkway to Bristol Temple Meads)
  • electrification west of Thingley Junction (Bath Spa to Bristol Temple Meads)
  • electrification of Thames Valley Branches (Henley & Windsor)

The Minister believes benefits can be achieved through “newer trains with more capacity – without requiring costly and disruptive electrification works.” As a consequence savings of between £146 million to £165 million are now available during this spending period. According to the Rail Minister, investments will be focused on improvements that will deliver additional benefits to passengers.

“We remain committed to modernising the Great Western mainline and ensuring that passenger benefits are achieved,” said Mr Maynard.

Industry reaction

Responding to the announcement, Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, said: “We are very disappointed by this announcement. In uncertain times for the economy we need investment in infrastructure and delays or cancellations are not helpful. It’s not fair to tell passengers to expect big improvements in services and then at the last minute decide you’re not going to deliver them. The Government should set out how and when services on the lines affected are now going to be improved to cope with growing demand. More generally, passengers need reassurance from the Government and Network Rail that there are no more skeletons in the closet and that budgeting is genuinely now under control.”

“It’s not fair to tell passengers to expect big improvements in services and then at the last minute decide you’re not going to deliver them”

Paul Plummer, Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group, representing train operators and Network Rail, said:

“Everyone who uses the railway will benefit hugely from the step-change in new trains on the Great Western Main Line from next year, part of the wider Railway Upgrade Plan of over £50bn. Across Britain, over 5,500 new carriages will be introduced between now and 2021 in deals worth at least £11.6bn – the largest sustained investment in new trains for over 50 years.”

“While some parts of the Great Western Electrification Programme have been deferred to a later date, rail companies continue to work hard to deliver the high-performing railway that Britain deserves as decades of under-investment are reversed.”

5 responses to “DfT defers four Great Western electrification projects”

  1. Cj says:

    I agree in some respects that it is about freeing train paths it alsoit is about capacity at Euston itself. However, it is the wrong route and a dreadful waste of money. If a high speed route is required then running it alongside the existing Marleybone Line is both cheaper and less disruptive. Also it can be completed quicker making the rewards reaped in less time creating a win win situation for the country and the tax payer. Of. Purse the savings could immediately be invested in advancing HS3 and developing the Northern Powerhouse again. This would see a far greater return for the pounds invested. The current HS2 must be rethought before a dreadful mistake is sanctioned for which there will be very few, if any Winners.

  2. Peter van der Mark says:

    Very typical of where we were twenty years ago. Why is it that you could see this coming, especially after Brexit? So we’ll hear the diesels being started at Did it, then. Very interesting.

  3. Bennardi Carlo says:

    It is always amusing to see how UK railway responsible are able to justify step-back in progress, probably if they will use steam engines on that routes the saving will be even bigger. When going to try to improve service and save money all other IM install electric overhead lines, but UK it’s always different, good luck.

  4. Derek Ferguson says:

    Typical of the government ‘deferring’ this project. They will still press ahead with the herds of white elephants called HS1 and HS2 putting hundreds of millions in the pockets of consultants and other hangers on on projects which are, in this technological communication world, a complete waste of money. Saving 20 minutes of travel time at this cost is downright obscene and criminal..

    • TerryK says:

      It is not just about knocking 20 minutes off a journey, it’s about freeing up lines to take more freight, for every train they transfer to the HS routes it allows a path for a freight train.
      You must be a an unhappy Liberal to blame the Government for anything you don’t like.

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