At Huddersfield train station on 6 September, we were joined by green campaigners, trade unionists and rail enthusiasts in calling for electrified, affordable and well-funded rail.
Whether we’re concerned about climate change, the health impacts of diesel pollution, the squeeze on people’s incomes or the development of the economy of the North, we deserve a better rail system.
This summer, the Government cancelled its plans for electrification of railway lines in the north, Midlands and South Wales. The electrification of the Transpennine route was a Conservative pledge in 2015. The Government’s plans were then ‘paused’, prompting campaigns by, among others, the Huddersfield Examiner. In autumn 2015 the Government committed itself, again to electrification.
It is now widely thought the pledge to upgrade the Liverpool to Hull Transpennine Line, speeding up journeys in the process, has been shelved, however full confirmation has not yet been announced by the Department for Transport.
Public spending on railways in the North of England is underfunded, receiving half that of London over the past decade. IPPR North is calling for £59 billion in ‘catch up cash’ for the North to compensate for under-funding, in relation to the South East, over the past decade.
Meanwhile, fares continue to rise. Regulated fares are due to rise by 3.6% in January while wages are stagnant. This is the steepest fare rise in five years.
Over the summer, council leaders from the North of England, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and ex-Chancellor George Osborne called on the Government to improve rail infrastructure in the region.
Together we distributed over two hundred and fifty fliers to rail users and encouraged them to support petitions for clean, affordable and well-funded rail (Flier for electrified, affordable, well-funded rail services in the North). Tens of thousands of people have already signed these petitions.
Towards the end of the month, we’ll be participating in a Week of Action for Electrified, Affordable, Well-funded Rail (27 September – 4 October).
We’ll return to Huddersfield Train station from 5pm-6pm on Wednesday 4th October. Please join us! (Feel free to turn up unannounced, but if you’d like to be informed of updates and cancellations, please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) your mobile phone number by Monday 2nd October).