Many passengers not counted in assessment
HULL is missing out on railway electrification because thousands of passengers travelling in and out of the city every week were not counted, it has been claimed.
The Transpennine route between Leeds and Manchester is to be electrified as part of a £9bn Government programme to improve the railway network between next year and 2019.
The programme includes plans to electrify the line between Mickelfield and Selby but the line into Hull misses out.
The Government announcement followed the submission of a business case by Network Rail justifying the need for the work.
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However, it has now emerged passenger numbers on services run by Hull Trains were not included in the calculations used by Network Rail.
They were excluded because Hull Trains is one of only two non-franchise owning operators in the country and only passenger numbers from train operators with franchises were included in the calculations.
Councillor Steven Bayes, Hull City Council's cabinet member for regeneration, said the quirk meant Hull had missed out once again on major railway infrastructure investment.
"Part of the problem we face is that Hull Trains is an open access operator and their passengers do not count towards the economic case for electrification," he said.
"Only franchise operators were included in the economic assessment behind this particular decision.
"We do not want to simply become a branch line in terms of electric trains running between Manchester, Leeds and York.
"When you are looking at potential inward investment in Hull, we don't really want to be in a position where the train connections to and from places like Manchester are only partly electrified.
"Business people prefer an uncomplicated journey without having to change because of a different type of railway at our end."
Speaking at a council scrutiny meeting, Cllr Bayes said lobbying Government ministers over the issue would continue despite the recent announcement.
"Full electrification of the line into Hull would require a level of capital investment far beyond what we have got as a council.
"As such, work looking at where that sort of funding might come from is being done through the Local Economic Partnership and lobbying will continue working with people like the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce."
Officials at Hull Trains recently revealed their own proposals to spearhead a possible £100m investment to electrify 35 miles of track between Hull and the Temple Hirst Junction, five miles west of Selby.
Subject to securing investment support, the firm said the move would mean 90 direct services to and from London every week.
Joint founder and director Mike Jones said: "Although these proposals are by no means set in tablets of stone, I believe they are achievable."