MPs Say, Midlands Rail Plans Should Be Reconsidered

Friend expressed his expectation that the new factory will result in additional jobs at Keetac after just returning from Pittsburgh where he was negotiating the next contract with U.S. Steel. He hasn’t heard any specifics yet, but a meeting with the corporation next week may reveal more.

The St. Louis County Annual Report of the Inspector of Mines states that Keetac shipped 5.4 tons of taconite and employed an average of 403 workers.

Also on Friday, U.S. Steel reported a profit for the second quarter of 2022 of $978 million, or $3.42 per share, as opposed to $1.021 billion, or $3.53 per share, for the comparable period in 2021.

The Department for Transport (DfT) advisory group Transport for the North (TfN) has suggested constructing a new route between Liverpool and Leeds.

The Integrated Rail Plan, however, only calls for the construction of a new line connecting Warrington, in Cheshire, and Marsden, in West Yorkshire; other locations will see network expansion.

This choice, among others, would “lower the odds of reaching objectives for the North by reducing the crucial capacity needed for expansion,” according to the Transport Select Committee’s report.

Northern Powerhouse Rail’s “original objective” was to connect cities like Bradford, Hull, Leeds, and Sheffield and “allow them to thrive,” according to the statement.

If this once-in-a-generation investment in rail is not to be a squandered opportunity, the evidentiary foundation for the IRP “must be reviewed in the light of these aspirations,” the report stated.

The committee’s head, Conservative MP Huw Merriman, stated that the level of anticipated rail funding “has the potential to revolutionize train travel for future generations.”

He said that the ideas have “already disappointed” several towns and cities.

“With Northern Powerhouse Rail, the prime minister vowed to provide the North with what Crossrail provided for Londoners.

Instead, he stated, “a large portion of the track will be an upgrading of current line.”

“HS2’s business case assumed that it would travel to Leeds in the east. Without knowing how much money is saved, it now stops in the East Midlands.

The finalized plans, he continued, “simply not satisfy either the pledges [people in Leeds and Bradford] feel were made or the prime minister’s stated intentions.”

The study, according to Martin Tugwell, chief executive of Transport for the North, offered support for the demands made by his group.

“Huge quantities of money have been spent on HS1, HS2, the new Elizabeth Line, and the Thameslink improvement in London and the south east.

The aging and creaking train system in the North, he continued, “has had nothing in the way of new infrastructure or growth of services.”

He said, “As the study notes, it is critical that this once-in-a-generation opportunity is not lost, [and] we look forward to working with the government to build on this analysis and reassess the case for transformational investment in the North.

When the government’s proposals were first revealed last year, northern mayors had already criticized them.

Tracy Brabin, the mayor of West Yorkshire, claimed they would be constructed “on Victorian infrastructure” and were not “fit for purpose.”

A DfT spokeswoman stated, “This analysis dramatically underplays the advantages it will bring to millions of passengers for centuries to come. The government’s £96bn Integrated Rail Plan is the greatest single rail investment ever undertaken by a UK government.

“The strategy, which is supported by thorough economic research, is already helping our areas, since the HS2 project alone has generated 26,000 employment.

Far more quickly than under earlier plans, “[it] will offer dramatic benefits to communities throughout the North and Midlands.”

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