Labour demands Yorkshire rail upgrade answers

NETWORK Rail’s chief executive has been urged to reveal what the company told Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and when over delays to key rail improvements in Yorkshire.

Picture: PA Wire

Labour’s Shadow Rail Minister Lilian Greenwood has written to Mark Carne asking him to clarify whether Network Rail witheld the problems with its electrification plans from Ministers until after the General Election.

The letter follows the emergence of documents on Monday suggesting Network Rail was already preparing in March for the announcement of the delay to the electrification of the transpennine and midland mainline routes.

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The announcement was not made until June, weeks after the General Election.

In her letter, Ms Greenwood wrote: “I must protest in the strongest possible terms that it appears that Network Rail neither levelled with Parliament nor the public before or during the election period.

“This was despite the fact that delivery of those projects formed a key part of the Conservative Party’s manifesto, and also of the Chancellor’s promise that he would build a ‘Northern Powerhouse’.”

Mr McLoughlin’s announcement last month that the rail electrification schemes would be “paused” has provoked a string of questions over what Ministers knews about Network Rail’s problems prior to the election and whether voters were misled.

The Conservatives repeatedly referred to rail electrification during the election campaign as an example of their commitment to investing in transport to help drive economic growth in areas such as Yorkshire.