£1.1bn rail upgrade announced

Britain will spend £1.1billion to electrify more of its rail network to help cut carbon emissions and speed up journeys, the government said today.

Only a third of Britain's rail network is electrified, far less than other European countries.



The government said the proposals would help employment and industry including tourism and freight, boosting Britain's competitiveness with European partners.



Britain is battling its deepest recession since World War Two and unemployment is at its highest level for over a decade.



The government, facing an election within a year and trailing in opinion polls, has brought forward capital spending to try to hasten the recovery.



The lines between London and Swansea, in south Wales, and between Liverpool and Manchester in northwest England will be upgraded in the first major electrification project since the late 1980s. Diesel trains currently run on both routes.



Journey times between Manchester and Liverpool are expected to be cut to 30 minutes from 44. Trips from Swansea to London will be 19 minutes faster after the eight-year project.



"This is the biggest electrification programme for a generation and a vital part of our rail investment and carbon reduction strategies," said Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis.



"It will be of huge benefit to passengers who will gain from faster, cleaner and more reliable trains," he added.



The short-term cost of infrastructure company Network Rail's financing will be met by the government, and there will be no impact on other Network Rail investment programmes in the five years to 2014, the Department of Transport said.



The electrification programme will pay for itself over the long term through lower train leasing, maintenance and operating costs, it added.



FirstGroup operates the main franchise between London and south Wales and also runs trains between Liverpool and Manchester.



Northern Rail, owned by Serco Group Plc and Dutch NedRailways, also operates services between the two major northern cities. Both companies welcomed the plan.



"Lord Adonis's announcement is good news for our customers on these routes," FirstGroup Chief Executive Moir Lockhead said in a statement.



"The electrification of the Great Western Main Line will allow us to operate a very large proportion of customer journeys into and out of London Paddington with electric trains, which maximises the environmental, reliability and journey time benefits electrification can bring," he added.



Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: On behalf of a successful academy i...

Investigo: Finance Business Partner

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in providing ...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

£8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project