Crossrail 2 sparks anger in regions

TRANSPORT secretary Chris Grayling has indicated qualified support for Crossrail 2 in London during a meeting with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, but the news has roused anger in several regions of England and Wales, where electrification schemes have been cancelled in favour of bi-mode trains.

There have been protests in south Wales about the possible cost of Crossrail 2, which is being put at £30 billion. Plans to electrify the GW Main Line between Cardiff and Swansea are among those which Mr Grayling has scrapped, and electrification of the Valley Lines is also increasingly in doubt.

In the north of England, it has emerged that TransPennine electrification is set to be cut back, again as part of Mr Grayling’s economies, and overhead wires are also unlikely to reach Sheffield until the spur off HS2 is opened, in about 16 years from now, because the scheme to electrify the Midland Main Line north of Kettering is another casualty.

In response, campaigners have made fresh demands today for a ‘Crossrail for the North’, and a petition has been launched.

Ed Cox of think Tank IPPR North, which has launched the petition, said: “The government says it has the financial backing of London businesses but while the capital can help broker this through Transport for London, the North lacks such powers.

“If the government is going to stand by this line it must now back souped-up investment powers for Transport for the North or this will be revealed to be a flimsy lie.

“Our summer of taking back control will bring businesses and the public together to make the government take the issue seriously and commit fresh powers and funding to the North and other left-behind regions.”

Mr Grayling told the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan that Crossrail 2 was subject to strict affordability tests, and that he wanted to London to finance half the cost of the project during the construction phases. It is thought Crossrail 2 could open in 2033, which would be at the same time as Phase 2b of HS2.

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