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The Welsh Government has welcomed today's announcement of changes to Network Rail but says there should be no delay to plans to electrify the line from London to Swansea. A spokesperson says:
Yesterday the Prime Minister made clear his personal commitment to electrifying the main-line from London to Swansea. Therefore we would expect no slippage regarding this project, despite today’s news. The Welsh Government and the business community in Wales have been very clear about the economic case for electrification, and the Minister re-iterated this today in a constructive conversation with Claire Perry, the Under Secretary of State for Transport. The changes to Network Rail are welcome, we have been pressing for an overhaul of this organisation for some time.
Opposition parties are demanding that the Transport Minister confirms that the Great Western main line will still be electrified through to Swansea by 2018. Patrick McLoughlin told MPs that the project was a top priority and is going ahead when other electrification schemes are being "paused". But he told Plaid Cymru's Jonathan Edwards that he'd have to write to him about the completion date.
Mr Edwards said he was "concerned by the ambiguity" of the minister's response. The Liberal Democrats' spokesperson in the Assembly says she'll also be writing to Patrick McLoughlin.
It would be completely unacceptable for Welsh passengers to have to wait any longer than they already have for these vital improvements. I am particularly concerned that the Transport Minister failed to properly give a firm delivery date. That simply isn’t good enough.
But the Wales Office Minister Alun Cairns has backed today's announcement.
I'm pleased to hear the strong commitment to south Wales electrification through to Swansea from the Transport Secretary today. This project will transform the lives of people in South Wales by attracting investors, linking businesses to suppliers and connecting people to jobs.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has told MPs that the electrification of the Great Western main line will be prioritised over other projects in the midlands and north of England as part of a crackdown on delays and rising costs at Network Rail. The state-owned company which controls the railway tracks is due to electrify the line from London to Swansea.
Electrification of the Great Western Line is a top priority and I want Network Rail to concentrate its efforts on getting that right.
On the Midland mainline better services can be delivered on that line before electrification. With things such as speed improvement works. So work on electrification will be paused.
The next franchise for the Transpennine route between Leeds and Manchester will bring modern trains and additional capacity. Current work on electrification will be paused because we need to be much more ambitious for that route.
The minister told Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards that the government remained committed to electrifying through to Swansea on schedule, though he couldn't confirm that meant by 2018. He did not mention the electrification of the Valley Lines, which will largely be funded through the Welsh Government.