THE Liberal Democrat manifesto has promised that the 'overwhelming majority' of the rail network will be electrified under their plans for transport.
The LibDems are backing widespread redoubling of routes which have been singled in years gone by, the reopening of smaller stations and progress with HS2 as the first stage of a high speed rail link between England and Scotland. The East West rail link will be extended east of Bedford to provide a through route between Oxford and Cambridge. Light rail will also be extended, and councils will be encouraged to 'consider trams alongside other options, and support a new generation of light rail and ultra-light rail schemes'.
Rail franchises under the LibDems will have a 'stronger focus on customers' and be better integrated with other transport modes, alongside a programme of investment in lines and stations. Freight will also be encouraged on to rail with further private sector investment in railfreight terminals, while planning laws will be amended to ensure that new developments provide good freight access to retail, manufacturing and warehousing sites.
The Ukip manifesto opposes road charging but gives no indication of any plans for rail transport, apart from saying that 'HS2 is an unaffordable white elephant and, given other, far more pressing calls on public expenditure, such as the NHS, social care and defence, not to mention the need to reduce the deficit, it must face the axe'.