Tag Archives: Rail Electrification

Jo Cox hosts public meeting to discuss level crossing’s future

Jo Cox hosts a public meeting at St Thomas's, BatleyMore than 60 residents attended a meeting hosted by Jo Cox MP to raise concerns and comments on plans to remove the signal box at Howley Street at Batley.

Signalling improvements by Network Rail means the box will be removed. This will cast doubt on the future of the adjacent Lady Anne level crossing, which is controlled by the signal box.

Mrs Cox arranged the consultation following a meeting with Network Rail in Parliament where she raised residents’ concerns.

The Batley & Spen MP said: “This was a very productive meeting and very well attended. Network Rail had the chance to outline their plans and thoughts and residents were able to feedback their concerns, comments and their hopes as the scheme moves forward.

“It is quite clear to me that the crossing is well used although opinion is divided on what exactly should happen there going forward. Nevertheless, residents made some very good and well reasoned arguments that I am confident Network Rail will take on board.”

Lady Anne Crossing at Howley Street, BatleyResidents questioned the reasoning for removing the level crossing and whether it could be maintained with an automated system.

One suggestion is to erect a footbridge in place of the crossing. Residents raised concerns about the design, scale and location of such a bridge and whether it would accommodate horse riders, who at present use the level crossing a great deal.

There were also concerns about loss of access for emergency vehicles, the usage and monitoring data being used by Network Rail and the potential for inconvenience for those seeking to cross between Upper Batley and Soothill.

Mrs Cox added: “I will raise all the issues in writing with Network Rail as well as a series of other questions and concerns that arose.”

Simon Lewis from Network Rail, who made a presentation at the meeting at St Thomas’s Church on Grosvenor Road on Saturday morning, said safety and reducing risk was a driving factor in their thinking.

He said he would feedback all the concerns and comments raised and pledged to hold a follow up meeting to discuss the proposals further.

Mrs Cox thanked everyone who attended and thanked St Thomas’s Church for hosting the meeting.

Assurances on train upgrades welcomed

Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox has welcomed assurances that rail commuters locally will see a huge difference in the quality of their trains by 2020.

Mrs Cox sought and received assurances from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority that rolling stock presently in use will be replaced and upgraded and that the old Pacer trains, which have been on local lines for the best part of 30 years, will be decommissioned.

Mrs Cox said: “The present rolling stock is old, uncomfortable and there isn’t nearly enough of it. I am very pleased to hear that by 2020 we will see the end of the Pacers, replaced by more modern, refurbished trains as well as new ones.

“Rail investment is not only important for commuters but it is also key to growing our regional economy. The government’s so called Northern Powerhouse agenda may have stalled but we must ensure that the north, and Yorkshire in particular, can grow and prosper.

“Better trains and electrification of the Transpennine route are integral parts of this and I am delighted we have been able to overcome Government resistance and secure commitments on both.”

Mrs Cox was one of a number of Yorkshire MPs who forced the Government to backtrack on plans to delay electrification indefinitely. The plans, promised by the government before the election but shelved immediately afterwards, will now go ahead but with significant delays.

Mrs Cox met with a director of the authority last week.

Cautious welcome for news electrification back on track

First TransPennine ExpressFollowing news of the Government u-turn on electrification of the Transpennine rail line, Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox, who led demands for the project to be reinstated, said:

“I am delighted that the government has finally bowed to pressure and reinstated the commitment to rail electrification for the Transpennine line. However the battle is not yet won.

“This announcement, although welcome, still represents a long delay on the original plan. I hope this is not a drop kick into the long grass for a much needed investment, with more pauses to come.

“Also I would still like to see more, such as a move to increase capacity and have a proper plan to get rid of inadequate Pacers.”

Mrs Cox tabled a Parliamentary motion demanding the Government reinstate the electrification plans.

MPs urged to back Yorkshire Post rail campaign

JC_080715_Gaza3The Yorkshire Post’s Back On Track campaign has received parliamentary backing.

Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox has tabled a motion in the Commons welcoming the campaign and echoing its call for the Government to reinstate plans to electrify the TransPennine and Midland Mainline routes.

The motion also demands ministers inform MPs precisely when they knew about Network Rail’s plans to shelve the electrification projects.

Mrs Cox is now urging Yorkshire MPs and colleagues across the north to back the motion and the YP’s campaign in order to force a debate in the Commons.

The Labour MP said: “The Yorkshire Post campaign speaks with one voice for the Yorkshire MPs, businesses, commuters and others who are outraged that after all the pre-election promises, electrification has since been shelved indefinitely.

“This decision undermines the Government’s so called northern powerhouse agenda and its commitment to helping boost the northern economy. It has an impact on many people and businesses across Yorkshire and the north and needs to be resolved urgently.

“Network Rail appears to have known in March that the plans would be shelved. It is inconceivable that ministers were not aware, even though they continued to repeat the promise during the election campaign. It is unacceptable that these questions remain unanswered.

“We want the schemes back on track, we want to know when work will start and we want to know what ministers knew, and when.”

The motion is now live for MPs to sign.

Mrs Cox, whose constituency is served by the TransPennine route, added: “In the last year India has electrified 850 miles of track, yet our Transport Secretary is quibbling about 40 miles from Leeds to Manchester. It’s simply not good enough.”

“When did ministers know TransPennine would be shelved” – Jo Cox

First TransPennine ExpressResponding to revelations in minutes from Network Rail about when plans to shelve the electrification of the TransPennine rail route were agreed, Batley & Spen MP Jo Cox said:

“I asked ministers directly in Parliament when they knew of the plans to shelve the TransPennine electrification and they refused to answer. Instead we got bluster and evasion and misdirection.

“Did they know before the election and keep the news secret until afterwards? It now looks like the smoking gun has been unearthed.

“The content of Network Rail minutes, obtained through an FoI request, shows ministers must have known that the electrification  was going to be ‘paused’.

“When the transport secretary said before the election that the Conservatives would electrify 800 miles of track he must have known about the Network Rail decision.

“He should come to the House of Commons immediately to explain this situation fully and openly.”