Local Liberal Democrats have expressed their dismay at the Government’s decision to pull the plug on electrifying the Great Western main line through Bath.

Network Rail recently went to considerable efforts – and of course, great expense – to lower the track through Box Tunnel, Bathampton, and Sydney Gardens in preparation for full electrification. This was hailed a great success.

“Local people put up with a great deal of inconvenience, with very few complaints, whilst all this was going on”, said Cllr Neil Butters (Lib-Dem, Bathavon South), Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson in B&NES. “However, it now seems that all this could have been in vain; at least for several years.”

“Two additional trains per hour, under the wires, were due to have been provided from Bristol Temple Meads to London via Bristol Parkway, leaving more seats available to Bath passengers. When now is this going to happen?”

“Pulling out at this very late stage makes no sense at all and calls into question the Government’s resolve to back essential national infrastructure projects such as this, as well as their competence in managing these vast projects, given the spiralling costs.”

“Bath, not to mention Bristol, is being treated as it were on a minor branch line. The Government should think again, back Network Rail to finish the job, and let us have the all-electric trains, with their faster acceleration, lower carbon footprint and reduced air pollution, we were originally promised.”