North’s ‘second-best’ rail plans unacceptable as Boris Johnson boards vintage Blackpool tram to promote Levelling Up plan– The Yorkshire Post says

BORIS JOHNSON was clearly in his element as he boarded a vintage tram in Blackpool to highlight the long-overdue Levelling Up White Paper.

Boris Johnson visited a vintage tram in Blackpool to promote the Levelling Up White Paper.
Boris Johnson visited a vintage tram in Blackpool to promote the Levelling Up White Paper.

The choreography played into the hands who contend that transport here is going back in time after Andy Burnham, the Greater Manchester mayor, ventured that this region faces “second-best” train services for “200 years”.

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And as Mr Johnson became sidetracked by further hostile questions over his own integrity, the bemused reactions of MPs at Commons transport questions reaffirmed the extent of the breakdown of trust that has taken place.

Boris Johnson visited a vintage tram in Blackpool to promote the Levelling Up White Paper.

No one believed Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, among those deployed to shore up the PM’s position, when he told Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman that the new Integrated Rail Plan is bigger than the comparable scheme launched by President Joe Biden in the United States.

After all, Ministers confirmed the intention to build both Northern Powerhouse Rail, and the eastern leg of HS2 to Leeds, over 60 times before these landmark schemes were scrapped by the IRP.

This, alone, exposes a central flaw in the White Paper – how can public transport connectivity “be significantly closer to the standards of London”, one of the Government 12 missions, without NPR at the vert least?

And then the inability of Ministers to confirm when the first electric trains will arrive in Sheffield or a decision on upgrading of the Penistone Line – obfuscation that explains why Mr Johnson’s ‘partying’ London Government is not trusted to get the North back on track.

Boris Johnson visited a vintage tram in Blackpool to promote the Levelling Up White Paper.

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