UK rail electrification schemes cancelled

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  canucklad 25 Jul 2017
at 12:37

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  • AMcWhirter

    Owing to a lack of cash the govt announced this morning the cancellation of three rail electrification schemes.

    They are the extension between Cardiff and Swansea, the section between Windermere and Oxenholme and, perhaps more importantly, the Midland Mainline north of Bedford.

    However, although there will now be no smoother and cleaner electric trains running between London and Sheffield/Chesterfield/Derby/ Nottingham/Leicester some of these cities will be covered by HS2 if and when it ever reaches the East Midlands and Yorkshire.

    The govt press release is skilfully written and says passengers will not now being inconvenienced by “disruptive electrification works.”


    Alex, yes skillfully written. It ignores the facts that the new Inter City Express trains will lug their diesel engines and fuel around between Cardiff and Paddington when that bit of track is eventually electrified – it reaches Maidenhead from London at present. And with that weight penalty the new trains will be substantially less efficient when drawing power from the grid. As yet no public have ridden on the new stock but having a diesel engine under the floor for a couple of hours Bedford to Sheffield will not make for a quiet or comfortable ride – witness the existing East Midland Meridians versus the dear old Inter City 125 HST’s that we have enjoyed for 40 years!.
    Altogether a load of spin and compromise showing political expediency due to vast overspends on rail projects beyond the Great Western to Bristol and South Wales. Far from progress when we still major routes unelectrified and little prospect of further investment for a decade.

    Tom Otley

    There’s a news piece on it on the Guardian website

    Grayling sparks fury by scrapping rail electrification plans

    “All 122 InterCity Express trains ordered from Hitachi at a cost of £5.7bn will now have to be bi-mode, fitted with diesel engines to run on non-electrified lines. The cost of the upgrade has not been confirmed, and the bi-mode trains are believed to be less efficient than purely electric due to the additional weight of the engines and smaller capacity.”


    The media release talks about the new Hitachi trainsets for Great Western but makes no mention of when they will be deployed on the ECML with VTEC.

    They were scheduled to enter service in 2018 to replace VTEC’s existing but life-expired rolling stock.

    But as we reported recently, their entry into service may well be delayed as VTEC will seek to renegotiate its franchise contract with the govt.

    Virgin Trains East Coast reports losses

    And the Hitachi trainsets for VTEC are also bi-mode. Lines north of Edinburgh (some VTEC services run beyond Edinburgh to Perth, Inverness, Dundee and Aberdeen) are non-electrified.


    There is so much flannel being used, a herd of mud rolling pachyderm would comfortably be washed and dried.

    I wonder if this would have been all so different, if the good people of South Wales, the Midlands and not forgetting Lake Districter’s spoke with a harsh Northern Ireland accent?

    Not forgetting the other elephant in the room —– How can we expect the governments showpiece white elephant project to come within budget, when they can’t manage BAU day to day modernization projects ?


    Bring back steam I say 😉


    LP: It’s being used on the West Highland and on some services (I think) on the newly reopened Settle-Carlisle line to much acclaim. Lest anyone has never taken either of these routes, they are stunning.

    I can now add Bandarawela to Kandy in Sri Lanka as a train ride well worth the discovering: along the ridge line through the southern highlands of Sri Lanka and with astonishing views of the forests, hills and valleys.

    Beyond that, the colossal waste of cash on the HS2 project could have funded the electrification, re-signalling, alignment reconfiguration and pinch point elimination across a substantial proportion of the UK rail network. And if additional West Coast mainline capacity needs to be generated, has anyone ever stopped to look at how little used is the Marylebone to Brum line? This entire caboodle was devised as a sop by the Tories so that they could row back on LHR’s third runway. Typically, they’ve now rowed back (ratted) on their rowing back…


    spot on Anthony Dunn #819920 re HS2.


    I wish AnthonyDunn had not mentioned HS2 – it caused a major spike in blood pressure and possibly ruined my weekend. If we could live without a 15 minute decrease in the London-Birmingahm journey time (on a good day),
    we could do all he said and have change left over to fix the NHS, too…


    The government cancels the electrification schemes already promised on the GWR to Swansea, the MML line Sheffield and the WCML to Windemere, while blatantly ignoring the pre-election promises (or half promises) of a continuing roll-out of electrification. It ignors calls for cancellation or modification of HS2 as an expensive vainglorious white elephant, and then slaps us in the face with this……….
    “Crossrail 2: Support by government ‘outrageous’ after northern snub”. (BBC News 25-7-17)

    It is so cynical and only increases the north-south divide.
    I would not be surprised that the government is also thinking of committing itself, in the bext few weeks, to the East – West railway from Cambridge to Oxford or the “Dons dinner connection” as it should called. That would be the real kick in the goolies if it were to proposed.


    Cancel the ridiculous HaSh2 and every line in the UK could be electrified.


    The govt has also not revealed to the public that ECML improvements have been delayed.

    VTEC (90 owned by Stagecoach, 10 per cent by Virgin Group) was supposed to have launched a new ECML timetable from May 2019 with faster and more frequent trains. Many of these would be operated by the new Hitachi trainsets. Passenger numbers were set to increase with the greater capacity being placed on the ECML.

    It’s still unclear when the Hitachi trains will enter service. But they have been tested (without passengers) over the ECML for some time already.

    This is one reason why Stagecoach got its revenue forecasts wrong.

    Stagecoach has made provision of losses of £84.1 million for the ECML franchise over the next two years.


    Before I get back on topic my steam shout out would have been the Royal Hudson that used to ply its trade between North Vancouver and Squamish. Steam and stunning scenery seems to go hand in hand.

    It does beggar belief that in the same week that they decide to cancel disruptive electrification works, the poor people of London are now going to be subjected to tunneling that would make moles in your perfectly manicured lawn seem like a welcome and a cute critter visit.
    In fact the chaos that those poor folk south of the Watford gap have to endure just makes me thank god that us up north can luxuriate in the most modern of rolling stock without the need of those pesky overhead wires get in the way of my day to day commute.

    I’ve included a clip my daily commute as we go through a particularly rough part of town.

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