Fresh call for government to commit to investment in the East Coast Main Line in the North East
At its meeting on 19 January, the North East Joint Transport Committee will discuss its campaign to secure major investment in the East Coast Main Line, which includes the reopening of the Leamside Line.
Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “We urgently need the government to make sure that its forthcoming “Integrated Rail Plan” commits to the principle of a major upgrade to the East Coast Main Line, including the full reopening of the Leamside Line.
“This is one of our top priorities, and we need the government to commit to this investment to trigger green economic growth in our region and to improve the rail infrastructure of the country as a whole. I have recently spoken to the region’s MPs who I know share this ambition; and the business community has also been campaigning for some time on this issue.
“That is because we all know that as it stands, the East Coast Main Line in our region is slow, unreliable, and doesn’t offer the capacity needed to grow our region’s economy, now or in the future. The line creates a bottleneck which significantly limits the number of trains able to operate and reduces the speed and reliability of those that do. We know the solution – reopen the Leamside Line to freight trains, freeing up the East Coast Main Line for express passenger trains.
“A reopened Leamside Line could trigger a wave of economic benefits across the North East, not just from an improved East Coast Main Line but also by enabling the introduction of local passenger services and extending the Metro.
“Investment is long overdue on this critical connection for the North East and it is therefore vital that the Government acts on this now by making sure that the “Integrated Rail Plan” supports a major upgrade to the East Coast Main Line in our region including the reopening of the Leamside Line in full.
“Our region would significantly benefit from these developments and we continue to work with a range of political and business partners to ensure our collective voice is heard on this key issue.”