RAIL PASSENGERS have been promised six fast trains an hour when the Trans-Pennine rail line connecting Leeds and Manchester is electrified but the work will not be completed for seven years.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has confirmed work will restart on Trans-Pennine electrification three months after it was put on hold amid questions over Network Rail’s spending plans.
The decision to restart work is a victory for the YEP’s Back on Track campaign but the project, originally due to be completed in 2019, will not noe be finished until 2022.
Mr McLoughlin, who made the announcement at Leeds station, said: “Connecting up the great cities of the North is at the heart of our plan to build a Northern Powerhouse.
“This Government will see the job through and build a better, faster and more reliable railway for passengers in the North and Midlands.”
But the decision to push back the completion date triggered fresh criticims of the Government.
Leeds City Council leader Judith Blake said: “We know that 13% of people have to stand on the Transpennine Express each morning, meaning workers and residents in Leeds are having to pay a first-class price for a second-class service.
“Clearly passengers won’t want to accept any further delays to this project.”
But Andrew Carter, leader of the Conservative group on Leeds City Council, said the Government’s critics would have to “eat their words” following the announcement.
He said: “Compared to the proposals before June the new plan will deliver faster journey times and more train capacity between Leeds and Manchester which will be a boost for businesses and for the public at large.”