North East response to Integrated Rail Plan
Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, said: “This is a hammer-blow for the North East and is the very opposite of levelling up. I’m not quite sure what our area has done to deserve such contempt. The Government appears to be arbitrarily ruling out major investment in the East Coast Main Line in our region, as well as confirming it won’t build HS2 to Yorkshire or the North East, and the Northern Powerhouse Rail plan seems to have been scaled back to a minor upgrade that is pretty much what was already promised – and not delivered – a decade ago. The Government has failed our region when it comes to ECML connectivity and I’m sure that everyone, including the business community and politicians from every party will feel as exasperated as I do on this.
“Long over-due investment is needed urgently in the capacity of the East Coast Main Line in the North East, including using the Leamside Line as an effective way to take freight trains off the fast passenger route to increase capacity on the existing line. The recent disastrous plans to decimate services in a new timetable – thankfully now withdrawn – proved that the route isn’t fit for purpose for today’s needs, let alone for the future. Without this investment or commitment to invest the Government is holding back the North East.
“People and businesses in the North East deserve better than to be frozen out of national investment plans like this. In the meantime we watch as taxpayers cover the costs of a new tube line and Crossrail in London, and HS2 as far as Birmingham, the East Midlands and the North West.
“We will continue to fight for better rail links for the North East, to improve our connections to the rest of the country and to help our economy to grow.”
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