Posted 21st March 2012 | 11 Comments
Budget: £130m for lines feeding Northern Hub
THE CHANCELLOR has announced that another £130 million is to be invested in lines feeding the future Northern Hub in Manchester. The news came as part of the Budget statement.
Mr Osborne's words were: "I confirm today that Network Rail will extend the Northern Hub, adding to the electrification of the Transpennine rail route, by upgrading the Hope Valley line between Manchester and Sheffield – and improving the Manchester to Preston and Blackpool, and Manchester to Bradford lines."
This does not, however, mean that the Hope Valley route is to be electrified, a Network Rail spokesman told Railnews.
In fact, the money will be used to increase line speeds and lay some short sections of additional track at key points such as Dore and Grindleford, to further increase capacity.
Network Rail chief executive David Higgins dubbed the Chancellor's announcement 'a welcome show of confidence in rail'.
He added: " To realise the project’s total value of £4bn to the Northern economy and create between 20,000 and 30,000 new jobs, the final stages of funding will need to be supported in the rail budgets to be announced later this year.
"When completed, this project will be a clear demonstration of how investment in smart infrastructure can unlock economic potential by connecting commerce and communities across cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle with 700 new train services each day."
However, the Budget has received a bleak response from the general secretary of the RMT, Bob Crow.
He said: “This budget unleashes savage cuts to jobs, wages, welfare and services in the public sector while pandering to the private greed of those same people who dragged us into this economic crisis.
"It will spark an upsurge in protest and resistance across the country as the vast majority realise that they have been mugged by this Government of the wealthy elite."
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