During a debate in the House of Commons, the Government last night refused to commit to electrifying the line to Sheffield from London just twelve months after promising in the House of Commons that it would go ahead.
The £800m upgrade programme on the only non-electrified North-South line in the country would have delivered improved journey times, greater capacity and reliability. The route also has some of the slowest mainline speeds in the country, meaning trains can rarely go at their top speed.
The electrification was initially expected to be completed in 2019 but it has been beset by delays and following a "pause" in June 2015, the Government confirmed to the House of Commons in September 2015 that it would be completed by 2023.
But yesterday, the Transport Minister refused to commit to the Government's own already-delayed timetable.
Commenting Louise Haigh, Labour MP for Sheffield Heeley said:
"Sheffield residents will be absolutely disgusted by the sidelining of upgrades on the mainline from Sheffield to London. Businesses are relying on the inward investment it would bring to make Sheffield the centre of the Northern revival and residents are sick and tired of relying on creaking infrastructure."
"We are the only North-South route in the country which is not electrified and we are being forced to rely on Victorian infrastructure and journey times."
"Work started on electrifying our rail network in the late 1950s and it is utterly shameful that we are still waiting for our mainline to London to be completed."
"This latest delay reveals the Government's utter contempt for our city and the London-centric focus of transport spending. Before Crossrail in London has even been completed, plans are already in place to deliver a £32bn Crossrail 2 programme, funded by the taxpayer. Meanwhile, Ministers are having to be dragged kicking and screaming to deliver an £800m electrification programme which is cost-effective and will deliver clear benefits for the North."
"It is clear where the Tories' priorities lie."