At Prime Minister’s questions on Wednesday I asked David Cameron about the Government’s recent announcement of an indefinite ‘pause’ on electrification of the TransPennine rail route between Manchester and Leeds. This line runs through Stalybridge and Mossley, meaning many constituents face many more years of delayed trains, cramped journeys and less frequent services, and I have been a frequent campaigner on this issue.
I laid out all these concerns to the Prime Minister, asking whether “these are the characteristics of a Northern Powerhouse?”. David Cameron’s response was to deny this was an indefinite pause, although he gave no date as to when the work would be completed.
The Prime Minister completely dodged the question and it is simply not good enough. Rail services in the North have constituently suffered under this Prime Minister. We have had the West Coast franchise fiasco which had knock on effects on franchising in the North, we have continually suffered with poor rolling stock whilst our best trains are sent to Oxfordshire, and now we’ve had the Northern Powercut with the ‘pause’ on electrification.
This puts the Government completely at odds with its Northern Powerhouse agenda, and it is time the Government started taking some of the responsibility instead of passing the whole blame onto Network Rail.
You can view a video of my exchange with the Prime Minister here