Network Rail Modernisation Delayed By Government

Tough Long-Term Decisions Are Now Required


David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

The government’s announcement to delay or cut back a number of modernisation projects planned for Network Rail has sparked a furious reaction. 

Last week, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said that rising costs and missed targets by Network Rail made its £38.5bn plan untenable.

Network Rail, which controls 2,500 stations as well as tracks, tunnels and level crossings, said the plan was too ambitious whilst Mr McLoughlin said that should have foreseen the improvements would cost more and take longer.

Key announcements included the Trans-Pennine route from York-Manchester along with the York-Sheffield line have  been scrapped.

Electrification of the Great Western main line work will go ahead, however Midland main line and on the Trans-Pennine route between Leeds and Manchester work would be paused.

It was also announced that Network Rail's chairman, Richard Parry-Jones, would leave the group and Sir Peter Hendy would take over the chairmanship.

Martha Grekos, a leading lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who specialises in planning and infrastructure said:

“It is a great shame that the Government is scaling back its £38.5 billion plan to modernise the railway network. Now is not the time to start pointing fingers and attributing blame.

“The burden of responsibility falls on all parties to maintain the momentum of investment in our infrastructure networks. Knowing where we should be heading is the easy part. We need to see a rebalancing of our economy towards infrastructure investment. Getting there in practice however is going to be much harder, and requires us to take some tough, long-term decisions. It will be interesting to see what, if any, announcements the Government now makes in the Budget and Autumn Statement.”