Speaking on the announcement of wider investment in regional rail routes, Leeds Chamber President, Amanda Beresford, said:
“The Chamber welcomes the DfT’s plans to invest in upgrades for the regional rail network. This sizable cash injection is a positive sign that Whitehall has realised that investing in the North’s core transport links is of top priority; especially if we are to bridge the gap to realising the government’s levelling-up agenda. The commitment of funding for two new stations in Leeds is particularly encouraging and both Thorpe Park and White Rose Office Park stations will support further development for employment and much needed housing in the city.”
“The push for greener infrastructure is now rightfully being given some weight, with electrification of the nation’s regional lines finally getting the investment they have sorely been without. The Chamber hopes that this move towards modernising the railways is only the start, as the effort to remedy capacity issues and to achieve net-zero is a recognised concern among our membership.
On future developments:
“Whilst these investments are most definitely welcome, what must also be reaffirmed is the very real need for a full, complete delivery of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail. In order for West and North Yorkshire, not least the North as a whole, to unlock it’s true economic potential, the government must fully commit to implementing the connectivity it promised in its 2019 election manifesto. We hope the long-awaited Integrated Rail Plan will confirm that both NPR and HS2 will go ahead, and in full”
£401 million investment into upgrades to deliver brighter rail future
• Extra £317m investment into major Transpennine Route Upgrade to make train journeys across the North faster, greener and more convenient
• New stations set to open in Leeds and the South West, alongside significant investment to improve freight links, to boost economic growth
• Announcement coincides with completion of first phase of £1.5bn Midland Main Line upgrade, introducing new electric trains
Passengers and freight operators across the North and Midlands will see faster, greener and more reliable rail services, as the Government announces a significant funding boost into the railways today (Wednesday 26 May).
Investment of £317m into the set-piece Transpennine Route Upgrade will boost punctuality, reliability and connectivity for passengers between York, Leeds and Manchester, and £69m of improvements to increase freight capacity between the Port of Southampton and the Midlands will boost economic growth.
£15m from the New Stations Fund will also build new stations at Marsh Barton in Exeter, and White Rose and Thorpe Park in Leeds, to connect communities, support retail growth, improve access to employment and leisure, and support greener travel choices.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
“Modernising and upgrading our vital transport links is critical to levelling up every part of this country, unleashing our economy and spreading opportunity as we build back better.
“Following closely after our reforms to deliver a modern, green and innovative railway that meets the needs of the nation, this package of £401m investment will help deliver reliable, punctual services that passengers across the UK can count on.”
Transport Ministers Chris Heaton-Harris and Andrew Stephenson set out how the total package of £401m will build on existing investments to improve rail connectivity, journey speeds and capacity across the country.
On Monday, the Rail Minister visited Kettering station to see how major Government funding is already introducing more modern services for passengers.
Chris Heaton-Harris saw the completion of the first phase of the £1.5bn Midland Main Line upgrade, which has successfully delivered the launch of East Midlands Railway’s first electric services.
Cutting carbon emissions by 77% on the route between Corby and London St Pancras, and running on a newly completed additional track between Kettering and Corby, the fleet delivers greener journeys, more late night and early morning services, and extra seats for passengers.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris said:
“The scale of today’s investment demonstrates our commitment to delivering more punctual, greener and comfortable services right across the country.
“From the vital Transpennine and Midland Main Line upgrades, new stations giving communities in Yorkshire and the South West rail connections for the first time, and a shot in the arm for freight operators, we’re building a brighter future for the railways.”
Transport Minister Andrew Stephenson will visit major works taking place along the Transpennine route in Yorkshire today, including at Leeds, Hambleton and Colton, to see electrification works that form an important part of the Government’s agenda to achieve zero carbon by 2050. Proposals for even more extensive electrification on the route are currently being considered.
The bulk of the new funding into the Transpennine Route Upgrade will be used to improve connectivity between Leeds, Manchester and York, and deliver electrification and upgrades between York and Church Fenton.
As one of the busiest stretches of track in the North, with over 100 trains passing through each day, these works will improve reliability and enable new and upgraded hybrid trains to run under electric power.
Transport Minister Andrew Stephenson said:
“Additional investment into the Transpennine Route Upgrade will cut delays and create a more punctual network, with electrification helping deliver greener journeys on this key route.
“Only by investing in, modernising and expanding our railways can we provide passengers with the reliable and resilient services they expect, and create a transport network that is fit for the future.”