NEWCASTLE MP CHALLENGES GOVERNMENT OVER ITS PROMISES ON EAST COAST RAIL INVESTMENT

Catherine McKinnell, Newcastle North MP and Chair of the East Coast Main Line All Party Parliament Group, has raised concerns over the Government’s commitment to delivering its promised investment in the East Coast Main Line. The vital strategic rail route connects Newcastle to Scotland, the rest of the North, the Midlands and London, but suffers from delays and unreliability due to chronic underinvestment.

Speaking in Parliament today Catherine highlighted that: “Ministers are already backtracking on some of the investment promises” made in the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan just six months ago, and challenged Ministers to “make a firm commitment to funding the delivery of East Coast upgrades to provide much needed confidence and resilience in our line”.

Following her question, and the Government’s response Catherine added: “The Government has already let down the North East with its lacklustre Integrated Rail Plan and scrapping the Eastern Leg of HS2.

“So it’s hugely worrying that Ministers are already backtracking on these watered-down plans in other parts of the North, failing to make good on promises made just over six months ago.

“The Minister offered no firm commitment to delivering the East Coast rail investment promised. I fear we could be seeing another Northern Rail Betrayal from this Government about to unfold.”

NOTES

Catherine was referring to the ‘Goldborne Link’, recently scrapped by Ministers despite its inclusion in the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan: HS2 ‘Golborne Link’ to the North and Scotland to be scrapped – RailInsider

The Integrated Rail Plan states that “In line with the Government’s existing approach to rail enhancements, commitments will only be made to progress individual schemes up to the next stage of development”, and adds that many of the options it proposes depend on: “further work being completed to determine they represent the right choice on their respective corridors”. This places a heavy caveat on making the upgrades outlined in the Integrated Rail Plan a reality.