Today the UK government announced a spending package aimed at making some investment for the future of UK rail transportation. Whilst this announcement was never going to be a ground breaking investment in high speed lines here there and everywhere, it was, at least, better than nothing especially considering the curent economic crisis the UK is experiencing.
The transport secretary, Philip Hammond, announced a series of projects including:
- 2100 additional railway carriages to be built by May 2019 , 650 to be delivered by 2014
- Funding of the complete Thameslink project
- Electrification of the Great Western line to Didcot, Oxford and Newbury by 2016
- Electrification of the Liverpool, Manchester, Preston and Blackpool route by 2016
What was not announced was:
- Electrification of the line from London to Swansea, this decision has been deferred until the New Year
- Replacement of the InterCity 125 trains, deferred until who knows when
Whilst this could be considered as a relatively minor investment it is something and could easily have been dropped in order to save 8bn GBP. Then again this could be seen as some sort of inward investment assuming the work is carried out in the UK or by UK contractors. It is worth noting that the decision to delay the electrification to South Wales has been met with anger, the Welsh assembly and even authorities in Western England are not exactly happy about this.
- The Guardian – Rail network gets 2000 new carriages
- BBC News – Anger in Wales
- The Guardian – Welsh MPs meeting transport secretary
- The Independent