Harrogate & Knaresborough MP, Andrew Jones, has welcomed news of a £16billion investment in the railways across England and Wales announced today by the Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Justine Greening MP.
Mr Jones, who is the Parliamentary Private Secretary to Ms Greening said that the investment would bring growth and jobs to the north.
For the north of England the package includes:
- Passenger capacity at Leeds station boosted by 5,100 to increase service into and out of Leeds especially at peak times.
- £240 million investment in the East Coast Main Line service to improve the capacity of the line.
- A new Electric Spine – a passenger and freight corridor linking the core centres of population and economic activity in the East and West Midlands and Yorkshire with the South of England, which includes electrifying the Midland Main Line.
- £400 million for cities outside London, including completing the ‘Northern Hub ‘that will link key northern cities bringing clear benefits to Newcastle, Liverpool, Manchester Leeds and Sheffield
- Over £900 million investment in funding for smaller schemes to improve
- Stations, including accessibility so that everyone can use the railways
- the current strategic rail freight network
- passenger journey times and reliability
Welcoming the investment Mr Jones commented:
It is easy in difficult economic times to cut spending on capital projects. Instead the Government is increasing investment, making our country’s transport infrastructure in the north stronger so that we can be ready to take full advantage of economic recovery. These are decisions for the long-term economic success of the country and of the north.
The investment in electrification will improve passenger and freight links and the cash for the East Coast Main Line service builds upon steady improvements we are already seeing to this service. Figures show that in its first year, the new Government invested an extra £154 per person in Yorkshire and the Humber in transport.
Working in the Department for Transport I have been able to play my part in putting together this package and it has been a great project to work on with the Secretary of State and Ministers. Putting in place the building blocks for renewed economic growth, more jobs and supporting trade and local businesses is one of the reasons I wanted to go into national politics. It is good to be able to match that aspiration with actually doing something about it.
We must recognise however that this is a first step and that there is much work still to be done as and when the finance becomes available not least to the branch lines – particularly in the north.
The new investment comes on top of improvements made in rail services locally over the past two years including:
- A new direct evening service from London to Harrogate.
- Fast ticketing machines at Pannal, Harrogate, Starbeck and Knaresborough.
- Extra carriages at peak times on the Leeds – Harrogate – York line.
- Improved signalling on the Leeds – Harrogate line.
- A new 21.11 service from York to Harrogate linking with the late London train