Business leader upset at rail decision

A BUSINESS leader in Rotherham has voiced his sadness that the government’s pre-election rail boost promises for the north have been put on the back burner.

Andrew Denniff, chief executive at Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce, said our part of the country needed better rail links to boost business and opportunities for workers.

The government announced last week  that various rail schemes in the North would be shelved or delayed despite pre-election pledges to boost rail provision to develop the Northern Powerhouse idea repeatedly expounded by Chancellor George Osborne.

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Mr Denniff said he was angered that the rail upgrade had hit the buffers.

He added: “The decision to delay the upgrade of key railway lines in our region is not a complete surprise.

“I voiced my personal concerns the day after the election in May as to how the outcome would adversely affect South Yorkshire, and it would seem the rail programme is now beginning to unravel.

“There is no escaping that our railway network is in desperate need of major investment.

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“If we are to see the economic growth we aspire to, we need the infrastructure to support it.

“That means, amongst other things, the north needs to be served by a top class rail system, but what we currently have is nothing of the sort.

“Sadly, businesses and commuters will have to continue to get by with rail services which cannot be relied upon.

Network Rail and the government must develop a robust plan to put the investment project back on track in short order.

“All current talk of a Northern Powerhouse by the government is simply that – just talk.”