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Major investment announced for Britain’s rail in the North and Midlands

Posted: 26 May 2021 | | No comments yet

The UK government has announced a £401 million investment to give passengers and freight operators across the North and Midlands faster, greener and more reliable rail services.

Major investment announced for Britain's rail in the North and Midlands

A £401 million rail upgrade investment has been announced to deliver a brighter rail future for passengers and freight operators across the North and Midlands.

Investment of £317 million into the set-piece Transpennine Route Upgrade will boost punctuality, reliability and connectivity for passengers between York, Leeds and Manchester, and £69 million of improvements to increase freight capacity between the Port of Southampton and the Midlands will boost economic growth.

£15 million 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 £401 million investment will help deliver reliable, punctual services that passengers across the UK can count on.”

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.”

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.”

Commenting on the announcement, David Sidebottom, Director at the independent watchdog, Transport Focus, said: “The investment in the TransPennine rail route is an essential part of the jigsaw if passengers travelling across the north are to see more punctual and reliable trains in future. This upgrade will be an early test of the government’s new approach to a more joined up railway. How this work is managed over the coming years will be key to passengers’ trust in the rail industry. Passengers will need to be told what it means for them and their journey and be kept informed about the work.”

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