MPs call on ministers to deliver levelling up pledge by…

mps-call-on-ministers-to-deliver-levelling-up-pledge-by…

MPs call on ministers to deliver levelling up pledge by…

MPs call on ministers to deliver levelling up pledge by electrifying Hull’s main rail lines
2021-10-21 04:00:00
Hull's three MPs have cranked up the pressure on ministers to signal the go-ahead for rail electrification in the city. Diana Johnson,Karl Turner and Emma Hardy have written a joint letter calling for long-awaited plans to electrify the lines connecting Hull with Selby and Sheffield to be approved. It is one of seven transport issues raised by the MPs who also say tolls on the Humber Bridge should either be reduced or abolished if ministers are serious about their flagship 'levelling up' policy. For the latest Hull and East Yorkshire news click here. The move comes amid continuing speculation that the government is considering shelving the so-called eastern leg of the HS2 route to Leeds. Campaigners pressing for a decision on the Hull electrification project fear it could be coupled with cutbacks to the HS2 scheme. They argue it should be viewed as a separate issue and be included in long-term government investment plans for the railway network which are expected to be published later this month after a series of delays. The wait goes on for Hull's rail electrification upgrade In the letter, the MPs say: “We have been working since the launch of the Northern Powerhouse with Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce, Hull City Council, the Department of Transport, Network Rail, Transport for the North and others to secure electrification of rail lines into Hull as part of Northern Powerhouse Rail. “There can be no high-speed rail travel across the North without full electrification. “The faster, more efficient movement of passengers and freight across the whole of the North that full rail electrification would bring is both an economic and environmental priority – phasing out the use of diesel on rail in the North being as important as the recent ending of Pacer trains. “After a privately-financed scheme was blocked by the Department of Transport in November 2016 – an initiative that would have electrified rail lines between Selby and Hull – almost five years later it remains unclear whether this rail line to Hull will be included in any electrification work. “This is despite it being one of the less complicated engineering projects in the North. “Some recent media reports concerning the much-delayed Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) and the Treasury’s forthcoming Spending Review suggest that rail upgrades in the North are to be minimal and focussed on the area between Leeds and Manchester. Hull would lose out yet again – and for at least two more decades.” Transport secretary Grant Shapps (Image: PA) Writing to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove, the MPs go on to draw a comparison with a government-funded rail electrification scheme between Wigan and Bolton. They add: “Five years ago, it would have cost £94m in private investment to upgrade Selby to Hull. Now ministers have announced £78m to electrify 13 miles between Bolton and Wigan. Video Loading Video Unavailable Click to play Tap to play The video will auto-play soon8Cancel Play now “With our Energy Estuary and Freeport status, however, the business case for investing in Hull and the Humber is even stronger. “To be clear, genuine ‘levelling up’ would require coast-to-coast trans-Pennine rail electrification between Hull and Liverpool, including routes such as Hull to Sheffield and to the East Coast mainline for East Yorkshire’s link to London. “It would be fundamental in addressing regional inequalities and achieving, within the next decade, per head levels of transport investment that demonstrate a genuine convergence between all parts of the North and the South East of England. “Watering down promises made to the North on ‘levelling up’, due to unforeseen economic circumstances, will be entirely unconvincing to many Hull rail-users. Hull's rail links could be drastically improved “We have lived t

SEE FULL ARTICLE


Share this post