Following news that the electrification of the line between Manchester and Leeds, which directly links to the North East, has been delayed, Penny Marshall, ICE North East’s Director, said: “While Government has stressed that there will be no cuts to rail investment, and that electrification programme is only pausing until the new Network Rail chair has undertaken a review, the set back is still disappointing. It is important that a new timetable is established as soon as possible so confidence in the “Northern Powerhouse” vision is maintained.
“This issue also brings to the fore the need for a national transport strategy. The Manchester to Leeds electrification project plays a vital role in better connecting our northern cities, but the wider electrification programme is also a catalyst for improved capacity, resilience and decarbonising the rail network as a whole. If we are going to achieve this, projects should be developed as part of a long term vision, not in isolation.”