Thursday, 23 July 2009

Electrification gets the go ahead

According to the BBC - and who are we to doubt them? - the Government is going to announce the electrification of the Great Western line later today. Those who hang on to my every word in Parliament and on this blog - and if not, why not? - will know I've been calling for this for some time. Last time I asked Geoff Hoon about this in the Chamber, I thought he'd been distinctly encouraging, but it's good to have confirmation. The only downside is that it will take eight years in total, but still at least it's been given the green light. Or should that be the green signal?

Today's announcement will tie in nicely with the Cabinet taking the FGW service to Cardiff for one of its regular away-days today. I just hope it gets them there on time! I have to say, I think the service has been better this year, although there was certainly plenty of room for improvement.

11 comments:

Jon Rogers said...

Excellent news - will that be to Temple Meads or just Parkway?

Paul said...

Well done faster greener travel to London - delivered by Labour.

Hughes Views said...

Damn - one less thing to grumble about!

But - speaking of half empty glass mode - it's a shame that they couldn't include the Swindon-Gloucester line (including doubling its southern end).

It does at least get a mention. Apparently we'll get "bi-mode" trains to provide our through services to London. A crumb of comfort perhaps for David and Parmjit...

Elby the Beserk said...

That's splendid news! A "West Coast" line that goes nowhere near the West Country, and more taxpayers' money into the pockets of private companies and their shareholders.

Bloody marvellous.

Kerry said...

This is nothing to do with the West Coast Main Line, which broadly runs up the west of the country as opposed to the East Coast Main Line which runs up to the east.

It's the Great Western line, which runs from London to the west, including Bristol which I thinbk most people would say is part of the West Country!

Jon, it will be TM and Parkway by the look of it - see map on Page 17 of this: http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/pi/railelectrification.pdf

Bodderick said...

Yes, brilliant! The railway company gets a cheaper means of providing the service, joe public picks up the bill. Excellent. Cheap tickets for the future, to reflect the savings then?

petespolitics said...

This is good news, but I can't help feeling that this is £1 billion of public money which will primarily benefit the privileged few who can actually afford the fares. Everyone else will still be stuck on the Megabus.

Just imagine what a billion pounds of investment in local bus networks would do. It would get people out of their cars, make life much easier for people who already use them and reduce congestion. Improved bus services would be of benefit for everyone, not just those who can afford the best part of a hundred pounds for a train ticket, and particularly for the least advantaged members of society.

(BTW I am aware that you've done a lot for bus users in Bristol, but I really think this point needs to be made - I just cannot understand why rail seems to be a much bigger priority than local buses.)

David Love said...

Good news indeed. Sad though, that we are still such a long way behind France, Germany, Italy and the Benelux - by 50 to 100 km/h and 20 years or so...

Kerry said...

We've been given £43 million for the Greater Bristol Bus Network, which is not at all insignificant.

Agree re fares - a point I was going to make myself.

dreamingspire said...

Yes, weekday peak time return Bristol to London and back on GWR is indeed over £100, but there are many cheap tickets at other times and sometimes special offers. OK, they still cost more than Megabus, National Express, Bakers Dolphin, but not a lot more.
What is a concern for South Wales traffic is that the diversionary route via Gloucester isn't going to be electrified, so we may well be condemned to having bi-mode trains (electric one end, diesel the other) just in case they have to be diverted.

dreamingspire said...

Kerry, that link to the rail electrification has a missing hyphen. Should be:
http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/pi/rail-electrification.pdf