The importance of world-class rail connectivity to the North East economy was set out clearly by Tobyn Hughes, managing director of Nexus today (Friday, 19 July 2019) at the launch of a campaign to attract investment to the East Coast Mainline.
Organised by North East England Chamber of Commerce, the event at the Beacon of Light, Sunderland, highlighted the importance of reliable rail services for businesses.
Tobyn Hughes said: “Compared to the rest of the country the North East relies hugely on public transport and rail links. The economic advantage of taking more people off the roads is clear to see. Every rush hour the Metro system moves over 75,000 people efficiently and sustainably around city centres and employment sites, and this gives us a substantial boost in relation to other regions when attracting inward investors.”
He outlined the financial statistics from the Metro and local rail system including it bringing in £8.50 of economic value for every trip through wider GDP and welfare benefits for the region.
The Chamber and other North East businesses supported Nexus’ bid to win £362m for a new Metro fleet from the Government which will be custom-built and expected to provide a transformative service.
Tobyn Hughes said: “As well as the Government funds we are also investing substantially in our business including creating a new South Shields station, a new training centre and ticketing using smartphone technology.”
Nexus also supports the need for investment in mainline rail infrastructure to transform links to other parts of the country.
Jonathan Walker, Chamber assistant director of policy said: “We urge all businesses to get behind our Fast Track East Coast campaign and tell us how important rail travel on the East Coast Mainline is to them and their future growth. We want the Government to sit up and take notice of the vital importance of the East Coast Mainline to regional connectivity.
“Capacity issues are already constraining any growth in rail connections and harming reliability which harms economic growth and investment in the region. We cannot succeed fully as a region if we have employers sitting in halted trains due to the tracks being at capacity.”
Further information is available on www.neechamber.co.uk/fast-track-east-coast and @FastTrackEC #fastrackeastcoast.