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Reaction to 9 billion pound railway investment


12:06pm 16th July 2012
(Updated 1:03pm 16th July 2012)

The Prime Minister's hailing a nine billion pound upgrade of the rail network in England and Wales.

It will eventually benefit the East Coast Mainline through North Yorkshire.

Taxpayer-funded work will start in 2014.

It will aim to scrap diesel trains, improve services and bring back unused lines.

It's the biggest overhaul of the network since Victorian times.

Councillor James Alexander, Leader of City of York Council, said:

“Today’s £9billion railway announcement is a huge boost for York. As the rail gateway to the North of England and the third fastest growing city in the north – an investment of this scale will provide millions of commuters with better links, faster journeys and more train capacity on the East Coast Main line between London, York and Newcastle.
“The electrification across the TransPennine line (Manchester-Leeds, extended to York) will also mean significant improvements on the route between York and Manchester [expected to be completed by 2018].
“I’m committed to working with leaders in the regions on improving and upgrading our connecting railway links and I’m also looking into discussions with Scottish authorities on the High Speed 2 (HS2) services which will provide connectivity from Yorkshire to Scotland.”

To read more about the planned changes, just click here.

Details from the Department for Transport

Yorkshire's transport links will be transformed by a £9bn national programme of rail investment announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Transport Secretary Justine Greening today which will deliver faster journeys, more seats and more frequent trains across the region and beyond.

The package includes:

  • Completion in full of the “Northern Hub” cluster of rail enhancements with today's approval of more than £300m of outstanding track and capacity upgrades. These are in addition to almost £500m of Northern Hub schemes already approved across the North of England such as electrification of the North Trans Pennine route allowing two extra fast trains per hour between Leeds and Manchester, a reduction in journey times between Leeds and Manchester by an average of 15 minutes and between Leeds and Liverpool by an average of 35 minutes. Faster journeys between the North West, Sheffield, the East Midlands, Chester, Bradford, Halifax, Hull, Newcastle and the North-East will also be made possible.
  • Faster journeys and more train capacity from £240m of improvements along the East Coast Main Line from the North East down through Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire to London.
  • The creation of a high-capacity “electric spine” running from Yorkshire to Southampton, allowing more reliable electric trains to cut journey times and boost capacity for passengers and freight. This includes: around £800m of electrification and upgrades from Sheffield - through Nottingham, Derby and Leicester - to Bedford, completing the full electrification of the Midland Main Line out of London St Pancras; and electrification of the line from Bedford to Oxford, Reading, Basingstoke and Southampton.
  • Extra peak train capacity for the 5,100 more passengers forecast to travel into Leeds by 2019. The rail industry will now work out how best to provide this and what further changes (such as platform lengthening) this may require.
  • The Government announced in 2011 that - subject to confirmation of the business case - the North Trans Pennine route between Manchester and York would be electrified. It has today been confirmed that this will scheme will go ahead and will also be extended to include the section of line between Micklefield Junction and Selby.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said:

"I am pleased that the Northern Hub will be funded in full as part of the Government's plans, which is a significant boost for the major towns and cities of the North, helping to rebalance the UK economy and enabling growth and regeneration throughout the regions.

"This Government is making more funds available to invest in rail projects than at any time since the Victorian era, and shows that the Government is committed to delivering on its promises to support investment in public infrastructure that will support economic growth."

Transport Secretary Justine Greening said:

“Funding the Northern Hub in full, electrifying all of the Midland Main Line from Sheffield down to London and boosting commuter capacity around our Northern cities show that this coalition government is focused on delivering an affordable, reliable and faster railway network that drives jobs and growth.

“These plans to increase capacity and shorten journey times on intercity, commuter and freight services are, alongside our plans for high speed rail, absolutely key to securing Yorkshire's prosperity in the decades ahead.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“From Crossrail, high speed rail and now the billions of pounds of investment we are announcing today, this government is committed to taking the long term decisions to deliver growth and jobs.

“In what is the biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian era this investment will mean faster journeys, more seats, better access to stations, greater freight links and a truly world class rail network.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

"This is the biggest expansion in railways in over 150 years, with more than £9bn of investment across the country.

“Whilst we inherited a deficit greater than any in our nation’s peacetime history, we knew that we had to give the country the boost it needs, to build great railways and make journeys better for the millions of hard working people who use the train every day.

“The ‘Electric Spine’ will make a significant difference for passengers linking London, the Midlands and Yorkshire in a much more efficient rail line, connecting the South and North more effectively than ever before.

“As someone who cares deeply about the environment, the opportunity to dramatically expand rail, a greener form of transport than aviation or road is very exciting indeed. This investment will help people to choose trains over cars, reduce carbon emissions and provide a rail system that is faster, more reliable and greener.”

The improvements will be delivered under the Government’s High Level Output Specification (HLOS) for the railways for 2014-19, which has been published today. The rail industry will now carry out further work to determine the exact start and completion dates of the schemes and these will be announced in due course.

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