Chris Grayling’s announcement on Northern Powerhouse rail is the latest U-turn by this Tory government and abandons the commitment given by George Osborne and previous Tory administration to significantly upgrade and electrify the Transpennine link from Manchester to York.
The suggestion that this is because new technology is now available is a complete smokescreen.
Joint diesel electric trains are not new, they have been around since the 1960s, and are still operating on the rail network.
This is about downgrading investment in Northern cities, ignoring rail users and not supporting the Northern economy.
The benefits of electrification and of upgrading the capacity on the Transpennine line remain enormous, but Chris Graying has gone for a minimum cost option that will lead to barely any improvements for the economy in this region.
The whole project has been put into a siding.
The Northern economy again loses out when compared with the large rail investment in the south east, the £16 billion investment in Crossrail, and the prospect of a further £31 billion investment in Crossrail 2.