Government halts electrification of northern rail routes Sheffield Chamber comment

30th June 2015

Peter Kennan, Chair of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce Transport Forum, and Partner at Hawsons Chartered Accountants, said: -Sheffield City Region businesses have every right to be disappointed at this announcement.

-A 'pause' was announced in electrification plans for the Midland Main Line but the issue is - how long is that pause and could the whole electrification project be kicked into the long grass as too costly and difficult to achieve at a time where Network Rail has to rein in and get better control of its finances? -Worse still could the electrification from London to Sheffield be extended but finish short of Sheffield, leaving the City Region at a competitive disadvantage? Budget cuts could always ultimately lead to that conclusion. -Businesses in Sheffield City Region deserve better than this. Under-investment in the northern cities has been endemic for decades and this latest setback, coupled with the pause in Manchester to Leeds electrification, is a major disappointment and suggests a cooling of ambition to achieve a credible Northern Powerhouse.

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