Transport for the North has welcomed today’s announced of the Government’s £500 million fund to reverse some of the Beeching Cuts made 50 years ago, but says more must be done.
Another round of funds for new stations and kickstarting funding for two routes in the North were announced by Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport.
The funding includes the kickstarting of reopening of the Poulton-le-Fylde to Fleetwood railway line.
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What did the officials say?
David Hoggarth, Strategic Rail Director for Transport for the North, said:
“It’s great to hear that the Government is committed to funding better rail connections that will help level up regional economies – both these rail routes are in our long-term investment plan. Let’s be clear though, the Beeching Cuts took billions of pounds of value out of our national rail network and some communities have never recovered.”
David said this was particularly true in the North of England meaning the region’s infrastructure has struggled with booming demand in rail travel in recent decades.
“Funding for both these projects and for second round of the new stations is to be welcomed but there is so much more that needs to be done – including urgent work on projects like the Castlefield Corridor in Manchester. There is not a minute to be wasted. What we need to see now is a pipeline of investment of local schemes as well as larger programmes such as Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2. This will deliver the benefits and the efficiencies that can only come with a steady stream of work spread across the region.”
Transport for the North has been supporting Northumberland County Council which is leading on plans to upgrade the Ashington-Blyth-Tyne line from freight to passenger use for several years. David said: “We have identified significant cost savings on this scheme which could really help revitalise a key part of the ‘energy coast’ identified in our Strategic Transport Plan.”
“Both the £1.5 million for the rail route in the North East and the £100,000 of seed-funding for the route in the North West do represent some good news here in the North,” said David. “Our hope is this will just be the start of much greater investment streams to truly help reverse some of the damage that was done half a century ago.”
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