This week the Government ‘announced’ a £13 billion blueprint for the Northern Powerhouse, which as you might expect included projects which were already underway, and some which they hope to get private investment for and not to pay the full amount, but include the full amount in the £13bn total. Patrick McLoughlin admitted that not all of what was being launched was new in his statement accompanying the ‘launch’, saying:
“Across the north, that investment is already having a huge impact, with programmes underway to upgrade our railways and our roads. We are determined to keep the momentum going.”
But of course the bit of his statement more detached from reality was:
“We had a choice – building the infrastructure our country needs, or letting our transport system become a brake on growth and opportunity. We have chosen to invest for the future.”
He glossed over the fact that this ‘blueprint’ in the case of some of the ‘paused’ electrification projects, surely confirmed that they were now well and truly scrapped. Just a month after the General Election McLoughlin announced the ‘pause’ of work which was underway at the time to electrify the Midland Mainline and the Trans-Pennine routes.
In terms of Trans-Pennine, the word now in the blueprint is what was actually being worked on until a couple of months ago is now just being ‘planned’:
“Electrification and improvements to the North TransPennine line are being planned to deliver 6 fast trains per hour alongside shorter journey times on the Manchester-Leeds-York corridor.”
However, in terms of what is going to be done on the Midland Mainline, electrification isn’t even listed as being planned anymore..….