Finally came across his Conference speech. It's, er, interesting on Rail.
http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/nor ... l-13673339
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He told the Labour conference: “In our investment strategy, we will no longer accept the disparities between investment in London and the Home Counties and the rest of the country.
“This Tory Government plans to invest in the north just one-fifth of what it will spend on transport per head in London.”
Yes, it's easy to make things sound unfair, and probably it is, but places much more densely populated are much more likely to use trains- and how does London look when you add all the commuters and visitors? And it's about what capacity you need and what money you need to provide it. Crossrail (strongly supported by McDonnell) is expensive because adding capacity in London involves digging tunnels. You aren't likely to do that in Northumberland or Cumbria. What if the return on investment is higher in London? Do you spend the money somewhere else, and make the overall GDP and tax receipts lower?
Sure, it's easy for areas to get into a vicious circle with low investment, but these judgements aren't easy. It's not just the bad Tories (who do better in some of these areas than London, these days) can't be think beyond London.
And the party would build a scheme called Crossrail for the North, a new rail line linking the North East and North West which is backed by local political and business leaders.
Crossrail is a commuter network centred on one city. It's purpose isn't to join up two different regions. I can't see even there's a route for this new line anywhere.
extend HS2 into Scotland.
It's reaching Leeds in 2033 (and no problem with it taking till then, it's coming on stream when capacity is needed). McDonnell will be 82 by that point. When does he want it to reach Scotland?
That's basically a meaningless commitment, isn't it? It's going nowhere near Scotland while McDonnell's in politics.
we’ll overturn decades of neglect and lack of investment in the South-West. We’ll electrify railway lines from Cornwall right through to London.”
The "through to London" bit is already happening, it's joining the SW to it that needs to be done. What work has been done showing electrification all the way to Cornwall being good value? What if Cornwall wants the money spent on something else? Railways in Cornwall, for one thing? Would they want more of that, and live with having better bimode trains serving Cornwall from London?
This is a pile of politically-symbolic ways of chucking money about. Why not look much more of the schemes that have been on the drawing board for years? There's tons of stuff about. Look at advancing a few of those credibly.