The elecrification schemes for the Midland Main Line and TransPennine routes by Network Rail have officially been “paused”, the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin has announced, in order for work on the over-budget and delayed Great Western Main Line electrification to be completed.
“Electrification of the Great Western Line is a top priority and I want Network Rail to concentrate its efforts on getting that right” said McLoughlin.
London Transport Commissioner Sir Peter Hendy will also join NR as Chairman, replacing Professor Richard Parry-Jones, who will stand down at the end of a three-year term in July.
The announcement took place on the same day that NR released its annual report on its latest performance. Chief Executive Mark Carne said that the organisation was “overly optimistic” about the capacity of the company and its supplier base to step up several gears in order to achieve the plans for Control Period 5, especially given the complexities of a network that is at full capacity much of the time.”
Reacting to McLoughlin's statement to the House of Commons, Rail Delivery Group Director General Michael Roberts said NR had been set some “highly ambitious targets and improvement plans which we now know have proved too optimistic” on an increasingly busy network.
Transport Focus Chief Executive Anthony Smith said that “passengers will be disappointed by this announcement”, adding that they would now want a “clear plan of action, setting out exactly when Network Rail will start to deliver some of the promised improvements.
"They want to know that somebody is getting to grips with this".
- For more on this story, read RAIL 778, published on July 8. For background on this story, read Stop and Examine in RAIL 777, published on June 24.
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