Posted 16th April 2015 | 4 Comments

LibDems go electric, while UKIP would scrap HS2

THE Liberal Democrat manifesto has promised that the 'overwhelming majority' of the rail network will be electrified under their plans for transport.

The LibDems are backing widespread redoubling of routes which have been singled in years gone by, the reopening of smaller stations and progress with HS2 as the first stage of a high speed rail link between England and Scotland. The East West rail link will be extended east of Bedford to provide a through route between Oxford and Cambridge. Light rail will also be extended, and councils will be encouraged to 'consider trams alongside other options, and support a new generation of light rail and ultra-light rail schemes'.

Rail franchises under the LibDems will have a 'stronger focus on customers' and be better integrated with other transport modes, alongside a programme of investment in lines and stations. Freight will also be encouraged on to rail with further private sector investment in railfreight terminals, while planning laws will be amended to ensure that new developments provide good freight access to retail, manufacturing and warehousing sites.

The Ukip manifesto opposes road charging but gives no indication of any plans for rail transport, apart from saying that 'HS2 is an unaffordable white elephant and, given other, far more pressing calls on public expenditure, such as the NHS, social care and defence, not to mention the need to reduce the deficit, it must face the axe'.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex

    Well UKIP now only have 1 MP and Lib Dems had a shocking result - I doubt that's what they meant by going electric !

    Election also saw the end of Labour MP Frank Dobson who had opposed HS2 and Euston Station redevelopment wil have to see what position his successor takes .

  • David Cook, Broadstone, Dorset

    There is no point in electrifying our railway system with indecent haste when we do not have the generating capacity for electricity to run the trains. We also have a good team working steadily to electrify the GW main line at a sustainable pace which in time could continue work towards Exeter and maybe Penzance in the very long term. We scrapped almost new steam engines in the 1960's, only to replace with them with loads of different types of early diesel, some which were being scrapped within 15 years of the last steam engine being built. Yet we have HST's still giving sterling service 40 years on.

    Hopefully good railway management will win over political pipe dreams this time.

  • Lutz, London

    When you the taken into account the likelihood of the a financial crisis kicking-off in the early summer, irrespective of who is in Government, it will not be new projects, but postponements of existing work in an attempt to keep the welfare and NHS budgets close to the current level that will be on the agenda.

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    Next year the Government - whatever its colour - will spend £740 billion and raise £670 billion in Taxes. The difference - give or take a £ or two - is staggering. This will affect everything the Government does - including all forms of Transport. Major reductions in Government spending will be required. Maybe the investment part won't be hit but the subsidy for the fares could well be. Don't believe anything the Politicians tell you.