Government admits initial estimate tripled to £2.8bn

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, Rail, Transport (ITF), ASLEF,

GWRASLEF has called on the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, to ‘come clean’ on the true cost of electrifying the Great Western Railway main line after the initial estimate tripled.

The admission came from Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne who told the House of Commons public accounts committee that the delayed project will cost between £2.5 and £2.8 billion rather than the original estimate of £874 million.

ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan said: “What is the true cost of electrification? That’s the question Patrick McLoughlin keeps avoiding and it is high time he came clean on the true cost. Because Mr McLoughlin, and the DfT, have a bit of previous on this. We’ve had the on-off electrification of TransPennine Express and the Midland main line and it’s not the first time they’ve got their figures wrong.

“I think the taxpayer, and passengers, and all of us who work in the rail industry, or who depend on our railways to move people and goods around this country, have the right to know the true cost of electrification and whether it will be at the expense of other projects? We have a right to know and it is time for Mr McLoughlin to tell the truth.”


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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