ELECTRIFICATION of the Trans-Pennine rail line connecting Yorkshire and the North West could yet be further delayed, a senior Whitehall official has admitted.
Philip Rutnam, the Permant Secretary for the Department for Transport told MPs the final cost of Trans-Pennine electrification and the timescale will not be known until more design work has been completed.
Electrification of both the Trans-Pennine route and Midland Mainline were put on hold earlier this year because of concerns about Network Rail’s soaring costs.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced last month work would restart with Trans-Pennine electrification due to be completed in 2022 rather than 2019 and Midland Mainline finishing in 2023 rather than 2020.
Quizzed by the Public Accounts Committee of MPs, Mr Rutnam admitted the cost and completion date for the Trans-Pennine route had yet to be finalised.
He said: “I think the Secretary of State is very clear that he really would like and expects the Tran-Pennine electrification to be completed by 2022.”
The Public Accounts Committee was told the cost of a third project, the electrification of the Great Western line, has increased from £1.6 to £2.8 billion in the last year.
Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne told the committee: “Clearly the way we set ourselves up for the electrification programmes, with the benefit of hindsight, was not adequate.”