We need rail electrification, warns campaign group

Stephen Waring from HADRAG
Stephen Waring from HADRAG

The chairman of a local rail campaign group says electrification of the Calder Valley line must go ahead in order to protect the environment.

Figures revealed this week show that the national electrification scheme, which was scrapped in July, would have delivered more than 20 times the amount of greenhouse gas savings than the alternative proposals.

However, the announcement in July that electrification work would not be rolled out across the country and that new bi-mode engines which can run on electricity and diesel would be used instead cast doubt on the plans for the trans-Pennine route.

Transport Minister Paul Maynard confirmed that while the switch to bi-mode trains is expected to deliver £11m worth of greenhouse gas savings over the next 60 years, full electrification was forecast to generate £271m worth over the same period.

Stephen Waring, chair of the Halifax and District Rail Action Group (HADRAG), said: “We absolutely need electrification if we are going to meet environmental targets.

“The position that we can leave long sections not electrified and use bi-mode trains is simply not a sustainable way forward for the future.

“HADRAG and other local groups are launching a campaign early in the new year to press for a rail electrification programme.

“We need the government to start moving forward with the schemes proposed by the task force in 2015, and the Calder Valley line was top of that list.

“Diesel traction is old fashioned technology, bad for people’s health and the environment.

“These trains are going to have a lifetime of 25 years so the railway is still going to be running diesel trains when diesel and petrol vehicles are almost at an end on the roads.”