The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered his final budget of the 2010-2015 Parliament on March 18, ahead of the General Election on May 7.
- There were no specific announcements regarding funding for a high speed trans-Pennine railway link, other than a promise to build on the HS3 concept to “develop a network of high quality rail connections across the north”, and to publish the interim report of Transport for the North.
- The government will, “subject to an acceptable contribution from Hull Trains and subject to a business case”, complete electrification of the Selby-Hull line by the end of Control Period 5 (March 2019).
- The Croxley Rail Link was also confirmed the day before the budget, with the Chancellor giving the formal go-ahead for the £200m scheme. Some £34 million of additional government funding has been promised, plus a further £16 million from Transport for London (which has taken on responsibility for the scheme) to extend the London Underground Metropolitan Line north of Moor Park, via a disused alignment to Watford Junction on the West Coast Main Line.
- The Chancellor also promised details of a Direct Award to the existing Great Western franchise (to take it through to 2019) during which time it will be responsible for the already announced Intercity Express Programme trains. A further announcement on the franchise is expected from the Department for Transport in the next few weeks.
- A High Speed Rail Investment Summit was also announced, to be held in Birmingham, which will focus overseas investment to the UK on regeneration and supply chain opportunities created around HS2.
- For more on this story, read RAIL 771, published on April 1.