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Gordon criticises Government on delayed electrification

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Responding to a recent article in Rail Technology article which stated that Balfour-Beatty’s partnership with the Government on Blackpool’s rail electrification has been terminated, Gordon has criticised the Department for Transport’s lack of transparency and urged them to commit to delivering the vital works without further delay.

Gordon said: "I’m frustrated to hear this news through a media outlet, rather than directly from Network Rail or the DfT.

"It’s typical of the way the Government is stalling on providing the infrastructure we need to spread growth across the country.

"This is a significant blow and potential delay in Blackpool getting its electrification moving. The upgrade has already been delayed by a year by Network Rail scheduling it as a lower priority than other schemes in the North West."

He added: "Worse still than a further delay would be if Blackpool suffers the same fate of schemes being put on indefinite pause, something the Government has still not discounted.

"It’s vital that Ministers put pressure on Network Rail to ensure the project is now delivered to the current timetable. They must also be transparent about what went wrong in the process of awarding the contract to Balfour Beatty, about any taxpayer funding lost as a result, and about what they are doing to ensure a suitable partner is signed up to finish the job.

"I’ll be asking these questions of Minsters directly and making clear that Blackpool must not be made another casualty of the Government’s empty promises and maladministration of these vital works.

"For all their rhetoric about supporting the North, already this Parliament the Government has threated to ‘pull the plug’ on vital North West electrification.

"Ministers have now broken the election pledges they made on these routes, despite problems being well-known for some time.

!Under the Tories fares in the north have been hiked by as much as 162 per cent. Modern trains have been transferred to the south meaning older rolling stock is used fill the gap, as we’ve seen with our local Blackpool trains."

 

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