Sir Ed Davey MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, has joined Cllr Keith Aspden, Chair of Invest East Coast Rail and Leader of City of York Council, to call for investment in railway reliability in the North.
A third of the UK population lives within 20 minutes of an East Coast Main Line station and together they deliver 41% of the UK’s GDP. Therefore, constraints on the line can lead to significant disruption.
Investing in the line now to improve its performance will not only deliver economic benefits across the country but also boost regional recovery and ensure the line is ready for the arrival of new infrastructure projects.
These calls follow the decision to delay the timetables changes to East Coast Main Line timetable. This major improvement would have seen an extra two long-distance services per hour in and out of London with improved reliability along the key route, which normally carried more than 20 million passengers per year and connects London and Edinburgh via Doncaster and York.
Recently Government has also announced proposals for longer term rail reform. The Department for Transport’s White Paper, ‘Great British Railways: The Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail’ was published on 20 May 2021, with the aim to provide a single focus of accountability for the rail industry through the Great British Railways (GBR).
Sir Ed Davey MP, Leader of the Liberal Democrats, commented:
“The North needs urgent and substantial investment to boost economic recovery, improve inclusivity, and decarbonise its transport system. Neither the region nor the country can afford further delay on long-promised reform and investment.
“Major decisions are looming which will have a massive bearing on life in the North of England for the rest of this century. It is paramount that the Government listens to the North, with its key cities and leaders, such as York, calling for an integrated, affordable, 21st century transport system.”
Councillor Keith Aspden, Liberal Democrat Leader of the City of York Council and Chair of Invest East Coast, added:
“York’s rail connectivity is a key asset to the city’s residents and businesses and a world-class transport hub which contributes significantly to our city’s economy.
“Investment in the East Coast Main Line will deliver economic benefits across the country from the Highlands to Hertfordshire and mean customers benefit from better reliability and greater resilience.
“It is vital that this much needed, sustainable transport network is given the care and investment it deserves from the Government to serve the populations up and down the country for years to come.”