On the wrong track: cuts to Northern rail investment condemned

The Oldham Liberal Democrats have condemned the Conservative Government for once more derailing plans for significant investment in Northern rail services.

The government has decided that Transport for the North will lose 40% of its core funding, down from £6 million from £10 million, and a fifth of its total annual support, in the next financial year. The Department of Transport has also cancelled plans to introduce contactless ticketing, like London’s Oyster card system, across the North of England.

For Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, Leader of Oldham Council’s Liberal Democrat Group, who also serves as one of Oldham’s representatives on the board of Transport for Greater Manchester, the latest news is a significant blow.

Commenting Councillor Sykes said: “Whilst the London Crossrail project receives ever more government funding, Northern rail services are being starved of cash. This government once talked about creating a Northern Powerhouse, but there is little chance of that when we have an antiquated and inadequate railway system that cannot meet the needs of our business community and commuters.

Howard Sykes, looking out across Shaw

“It took decades to divest ourselves of the appalling Pacer ‘trains’ which where only removed from service a couple of months ago. It looks like it might take decades more before passengers travelling between our Northern towns and cities may experience a twenty first century rail service. If the Conservatives are to have any credibility when they talk of levelling up the North, then they need to give us more cash not less.”

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