Responding to the shock announcement today that the electrification of the Great Western Main Line will not extend beyond Cardiff, Stephen Kinnock, Member of Parliament for Aberavon, said:
“For years now the Tory government in Westminster has been promising that it will deliver full mainline rail electrification from Paddington to Swansea. Today we have seen that those promises were not worth the paper they were written on. The truth is that the Tories simply do not care about the people of Wales. Theresa May was able to find a £1 billion bung for the DUP to enable her to cling on to power, and she found £6 billion for high-speed rail in England, but when it comes to standing by her promises to the people of Wales on rail electrification – well, it’s a very different story.
“And then there’s the grubby, disgraceful way in which the Tories have sneaked this announcement just as Parliament is going into recess, thus enabling them to dodge proper parliamentary process, scrutiny and accountability. It seems that the UK government has picked today as a good day to bury bad news – your typical Tory hit-and-run operation.
“Welsh Labour MPs and AMs have been pushing the UK Government on rail electrification, and the response amounted to nothing but a string of false promises. On 1st October 2015, I was a panellist on BBC Question Time in Cardiff, and I received a cast iron guarantee from Stephen Crabb, the then Secretary of State for Wales, that electrification would happen. I hope that Mr Crabb is regretting those words today.
“For years Wales has been denied proper investment in our railways, so today’s news of yet more Tory broken promises is adding insult to injury. The Great Western Main Line runs right through Aberavon, and it is truly a transport lifeline for our economy and communities. Today’s shocking news is a body blow for Wales, for the entire Swansea Bay region, and for the people of Aberavon.
“Transport Secretary Chris Grayling promises ‘all the benefit of electrification…without the months of work’ but he fails to take in to account the effects of continuing diesel operated trains will have on air quality, noise, carbon emissions and not least greater long term operation and maintenance costs.
“Tory failure to invest in this vital infrastructure now will also have long-term repercussions for the line, restricting the types of rolling stock that can be used on the line in the future both for inter-city services, and for the Wales and Borders franchise”