The MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, Andrew Jones, hosted a meeting in parliament between the MPs with constituencies on the Leeds – Harrogate – York railway line together with consultancy group WSP UK to discuss the business case for electrification of the line on Tuesday 16 April.
The meeting was attended by Mike Holmes, Associate Director of WSP UK, who have been appointed to work on the project, Graham North, Policy Support Officer for Rail at North Yorkshire County Council, and Members of Parliament who represent the constituencies along the line.
Andrew arranged the meeting to provide the opportunity for MPs to input into the business case and to hear an update from WSP on the progress of their work of the business case, which they said was ‘well underway’.
Andrew has been working to build the business case to get the line electrified, has already met with representatives from Northern Rail and Network Rail and has spoken about the case in Parliament.
In January during a debate on the rising cost of transport, Andrew stated that even though Harrogate has a significant visitor economy, it is ‘so inadequately served by its rail facilities, however, that less than 20 per cent of its visitors arrive by rail’.
The government has committed to the biggest period of rail investment since the Victorian era. It has already committed to electrifying 880 miles of track, including the transpennine route, so we know that the Government will support a well argued case. With rising passenger numbers and overcrowded trains, electrification would significantly increase capacity on this line and bring new rolling stock too.
We will not see our railway line electrified, however, unless we can demonstrate there is a good business case to do so, a business case that shows a return on investment for taxpayers’ money. I think we can do that, indeed we must do that to give ourselves a chance. The stronger the case we put forward, the better chance we will have, and that is why I have been urging everyone to contribute.