Is it going to happen or not? MP quizzes Ministers on rail electrification

A Bristol MP has renewed her challenge to government Ministers over the delayed electrification of stretches of rail lines into Bristol Temple Meads.A Bristol MP has renewed her challenge to government Ministers over the delayed electrification of stretches of rail lines into Bristol Temple Meads.

As a member of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, the Labour MP played a key part in a recent inquiry into the modernisation of the Great Western Railway which led to the publication of its report in March 2017. She also quizzed the Rail Minister on the issue during a Commons debate last autumn.

Now Karin Smyth has this week tabled a series of Parliamentary Questions, and written to Transport Ministers, drawing attention to the continuing delays, and to the general election campaign visit by Chancellor Philip Hammond during which he reportedly refused to commit to a new date for the electrification project.

In her letter she says: “Whilst I recognise that decisions need to be subject to ongoing assessment, seven months on (from the Committee report) in the continuing absence of any government commitment to electrification, I and my constituents remain confused and still await news.

“My constituents want to know the timescale, not just for the electrification they want to see, but also for a firm government decision one way or another. Put simply: Is it going to happen or not?”

The Bristol South MP has also tabled Parliamentary Questions, asking the Secretary of State for Transport

  • when he expects to announce whether the Great Western mainline to Bristol will be fully electrified; and if he will make a statement
  • what assessment he has made of the benefits for passengers in terms of capacity, frequency and journey times of the full electrification of the Great Western mainline to Bristol, and
  • what the role of the Office and Rail and Road is in relation to the full electrification of the Great Western mainline to Bristol.

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