Trans-Pennine Rail Line

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 28th January 2016.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield 9:30 am, 28th January 2016

What recent discussions he has had with Network Rail on the proposed electrification of the trans-Pennine rail line.

Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The Secretary of State, Ministers and officials meet Network Rail regularly to progress the complex and transformative upgrades that we are undertaking on the trans-Pennine line. These upgrades will deliver faster journey times and significantly more capacity by improving the track and signalling as well as electrifying the line.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

Mr Speaker, may I quickly associate myself with the generous tribute you paid to those great servants of the House, but point out that you seemed to omit the time and date of the lavish retirement party you are putting on for them?

May I say to the rail Ministers that they have challenged us to speak to the facts? According to the BBC, the facts are that the trans-Pennine electrification is in severe doubt because of what is happening in the south, where electrification is four years late. New trains are arriving before the rails are ready and they are parking them up in sidings.

Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The hon. Gentleman is wrong. Let me briefly remind him that under this Government there has been more electrification than in the entire 13 years of the previous Labour Government.

Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills)

The north of England rail electrification taskforce, which the Minister chaired, recommends as its second priority Liverpool to Manchester via Warrington, with Southport and Kirkby to Salford Crescent as its third. Can he tell us when the work on those projects will take place?

Photo of Andrew Jones Andrew Jones Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

The taskforce informed the next control period and the control periods after that. The detail of the content of CP6 is not yet complete.