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The electrification of the Manchester to Leeds line will not be ready by 2019 as originally promised by rail bosses.
The scheme was first announced in November 2011 as part of a £400m north west electrification programme. It was set to provide more seats and improve journeys for travellers.
But Network Rail has said they will have to carry out more work than originally thought to meet growing passenger needs - and they can’t provide a new completion date.
Stalybridge and Hyde MP Jonathan Reynolds now plans to write to Andrew Jones, Rail Minister, and Network Rail to demand a meeting.
He said: “I am incredibly disappointed by the admission by the government and Network Rail that work on the TransPennine rail line will not be completed on time.
“We are now in a situation where passenger numbers are increasing at stations like Stalybridge and Mossley and this electrification is badly needed, yet the government and Network rail cannot even give a set date when the delayed work will be completed. This is unacceptable, and I will be writing to the Rail Minister and Network Rail to demand a meeting with both.”
A spokesman for Network Rail said: “Network Rail has been developing the scheme to electrify between Manchester and Leeds since 2011 and has concluded that to accommodate the growth in train services projected along the route, more work should be undertaken to track and signalling, not just to electrify the route, but to take the maximum advantage that this investment opportunity presents.
“We are now revising that scheme so it will not only deliver the advantages of an electrified railway, but will also deliver a significant improvement in journey time and see capacity improvements to realise the significant growth potential on the route and to improve the economy of the North.
“This means the original plan to deliver the electrification project by 2019 will take longer as more work is needed and the plans for the new, bigger scheme are currently underway.”
The first passengers were able to take an electric train between Liverpool Lime Street and Manchester Airport in March.
It’s not the first hurdle for the programme - with trains for the Liverpool-Manchester route delayed, sparking critics to slam the ‘very gradual’ stock roll-out of carriages - which are coming second-hand to Northern from Thameslink.
By the end of this year, all 14 trains should be in service, providing up to 3,000 extra seats, going as far as Liverpool-Warrington Bank Quay.
This article first appeared on www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk
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