East Coast Mainline

Chamber comments on National Infrastructure Commission’s ‘Rail Needs Assessment’

Author - Charlotte Johns

Date published:

Whilst it is positive to see the East Coast Mainline and regional stations highlighted in the National Infrastructure’s report the North East shouldn’t have to choose between investment in these or HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Improvements to Darlington and Middlesbrough stations have been highlighted by the Commission as quick wins to increase capacity and help to deliver more services along with the Northumberland Line scheme to provide connections between Newcastle and Ashington.

The East Coast Main Line was highlighted by the Commission as a key route, we need to see a major upgrade to the route north of York with a focus on improving capacity. The reinstatement of the disused Leamside Line coupled with upgrades for the existing East Coast Main Line, including between Northallerton and Norton will help to increase capacity and reliability on the route.

We need to see the Government commit to upgrading existing lines, improving regional links in the North and investing in long distance links to link the North and Midlands to the rest of the country.

We need HS2 Eastern leg in full and Northern Powerhouse Rail delivered along with investment in regional links to tackle decades of underinvestment in the North East’s rail links. HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail are essential to increase capacity and create reliable rail connections across the North.

With the government now set to publish an Integrated Rail Plan in 2021 it is essential that Northern Powerhouse Rail, the HS2 Eastern Leg, and upgrading the East Coast Main Line in the North East are all included. In order to achieve its levelling up agenda and increase productivity the Government needs to invest to increase capacity and create reliable, sustainable connections for the North East.

View the National Infrastructure’s report here.

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