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3rd March 2017 - Islwyn MP demands answers over rail project failures

Islwyn MP demands answers over rail project failuresThe MP for Islwyn, Chris Evans, has written to the Department for Transport and Network Rail demanding answers after a report published today expressed fresh concerns over the Great Western railway electrification project.

Today’s report, published by the Public Accounts Committee, casts doubt on whether the electrification project can be delivered on time and on budget, is properly planned and whether the project will ultimately represent good value for taxpayers’ money.

Failures were revealed last year by the committee after it found the estimated cost of the project had risen by £1.2 billion to £2.8 billion by the end of 2015. The earlier report also expressed concern and disappointment that some parts of the project were to be delayed by 18 to 36 months.

Public Accounts Committee member Mr Evans, said: ‘The electrification of the Great Western rail line was supposed to bring huge benefits to taxpayers, businesses and passengers in south Wales and across the country. Yet the project has failed to achieve any of these objectives so far due to poor planning and management.

‘While cost to the taxpayer is rising and completion dates are being pushed further and further into the future, big questions are raised in this report which cast doubt about whether the electrification project represents good value for money or would provide sufficient benefits.

‘If neither the Department for Transport nor Network Rail can answer these important questions, public faith in their ability to complete these projects will be fatally undermined. There is a clear need to improve public infrastructure through bold and ambitious projects, so any loss of trust in the government’s ability to carry them out will be detrimental to the country and economy.’

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