In 2012, the government announced the largest investment in railway electrification since the 1970s. Lines to Bristol and South Wales, Sheffield and the East Midlands, and across the Pennines between Manchester and Leeds, and from Southampton to the Midlands were all due to be wired. We were told that it would bring journey savings, efficiency gains, environmental gains, removal of freight from the roads, and more – all of which in technical terms is true.
Last week, the same party scrapped most of the schemes due to cost over-runs on the one that has actually got underway between London and Bristol. We are now told we don’t need electric trains and the ‘visual intrusion’ they bring. They can’t both be right.
Why does this county so often fail in matters of national investment? By comparison, virtually all of the French, German and Italian main line networks have been electric for decades – and…
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