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Question marks grow on PM's promised Yorkshire rail upgrade: Tom Richmond

3 16 20

The PM’s planned ‘decade of investment’ speech today, and need to speed up key projects, contrasts with the tone of policy papers due to be discussed by West Yorkshire Combined Authority on Friday which suggest the project is not on political track.

And while WYCA officials indicate on their briefing paper that this matter is not a ‘key decision’, they should reappraise this in light of Department for Transport (DfT) developments.

Apologies for the acronyms, but their report says: “It is understood that the refreshed Outline Business Case (OBC) for TransPennine Route Upgrade (TRU) was recently approved by the DfT’s Investment, Projects and Delivery Committee (IPDC) in April 2020.”

Fine, but it then hints at a significant scaling back: “We understand the IPDC was asked to support a baseline OBC programme for partial electrification and, in parallel, also endorse further development work for a full electrification option…”

And then the hint of more delays: “We understand Ministerial and Treasury approval is now being sought to release funding to Network Rail for further design and development work in 2020.”

An update will be provided by the Department for Transport on July 29 to the Transport for the North board. The answers had better be good.

After all, the TransPennine Route Upgrade scheme has been characterised by broken promises ever since its inclusion in the 2011 Autumn Statement. Both the 2015 and 2017 General Election campaigns here saw the Tories promise to fully electrify this key route – and........

© Yorkshire Post