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Labour unveils ‘Crossrail for the North’

Coast to coast route would ‘unlock huge tapped potential,’ says Jeremy Corbyn

JEREMY CORBYN will pledge a Crossrail for the north of England to be backed by £10 billion of funding today.

On the party’s National Rail Campaign Day, the Labour leader will travel the proposed route and talk to passengers about their experiences of overcrowding, delays and cancellations on the current privatised rail network.

Northern Rail’s new timetable is due to be introduced tomorrow. A stopgap timetable was launched in June after the introduction of new timetables in May led to a shambles in which nearly 170 services a day could not be fulfilled.

Speaking ahead of his journey from Liverpool to Hull, Mr Corbyn said: “The rail chaos unleashed by the Tories on the north of England shows their utter disregard for people living in the towns and cities in the north.

“For decades northern communities have received only a fraction of the transport investment that is spent in London and the south-east.

“Labour will put this right by building Crossrail for the north, connecting the great cities of the north of England to unlock huge untapped potential.”

England’s northern regions have missed out on £63bn in transport investment over the last decade due to chronic underfunding, with London getting £419 more per head every year, analysis by think tank IPPR North has found.

Also known as HS3, the northern Crossrail could deliver 850,000 new jobs by 2050 and unlock £97bn of economic potential.

The proportion of trains that have been cancelled or significantly late has risen by 50 per cent since the Tories came into power in 2010, analysis by Labour reveals.

The proportion of trains arriving on time has fallen from 91.5 per cent eight years ago to 87.8 per cent.

Overcrowding has increased by more than a quarter on the top 10 busiest peak-time routes, which are now on average 187 per cent in excess of capacity.

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald said: “The government’s blind obsession with privatisation is putting the future of the railway at risk.

“Labour will do what’s best for passengers and taxpayers by taking the railway back into public ownership in order to improve services and cap fares.”

Members of more than 300 local Labour parties will talk to commuters about their experiences of rail today.

On Friday, it was announced that the planned December opening of London’s new £15bn Crossrail service will be delayed until autumn next year.

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