Rail plan delayed again


The Government’s integrated rail plan will be published ‘soon’, the chancellor said as he announced cash for pay-as-you-go ticketing and the mobilisation of the new Great British Railways, but no new money for rail electrification.

The Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) for the North and Midlands will set out how rail services in the regions will integrate with Phase 2 of HS2 and could see the Yorkshire branch of the high speed railway dropped.

The plan was expected to be published alongside today’s Spending Review but reports have said it may now appear next month.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak told MPs: 'Our Integrated Rail Plan will be published soon, dramatically improving journey times between our towns and cities.'

Ministers have repeatedly promised to publish both the IRP and a comprehensive plan for rail electrification.

Treasury documents said the Spending Review ‘will help to achieve the government’s net zero ambitions through the decarbonisation of transport’ but did not include any new cash to support electrification of the rail network.

As previously trailed, the Treasury also said the settlement would deliver £620m of additional cash to support the transition to electric vehicles, to be spent on public chargepoints in residential areas and targeted plug-in vehicle grants; £180m to support the development of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) plants and a SAF testing and certification centre and £300m for R&D programmes to help commercialise low and zero emission technologies.

Officials said the Spending Review will invest in reforms to help the railways become more customer focused and financially sustainable, as set out in the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail, and provide £5.7bn over three years to keep essential rail services running.

Mr Sunak also announced £360m to modernise ticketing and retail systems, including delivering pay-as-you-go ticketing to passengers outside of London and £205m to begin the mobilisation of Great British Railways, 'bringing new leadership to deliver a better co-ordinated and higher performing railway'.

In addition, the Government said it will continue to progress with the £500m commitment to restore transport links lost in the Beeching cuts of the 1960s.

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