Today I met with the Transport Minister, Andrew Jones MP, to discuss the delay in the electrification of the TransPennine rail line through Stalybridge and Mossley. I requested this meeting at a previous session of Transport Questions in the House of Commons.
Andrew Jones assured me that the Government remains committed to the project, and the Hendy Review into the work is designed to get a grip on all aspects of the scheme (including costs) but is not seeking to scrap it. It will however cover more than just the electrification work, but other engineering work on the line too. It should report around November this year.
The Government could not give me a time scale for the likely completion of the electrification work, but did say that new rolling stock in the franchise bids is not dependent on electrification happening. This means that before the new franchises start in April 2016, we should have an indication of what new trains we are getting.
I remain deeply frustrated at this delay, but I appreciated the chance to seek further clarity and commitment from the Government on this vital project.