Response to East Coast Main Line upgrade announcement

23 July 2018

Responding to proposals for upgrades to the East Coast Main Line, Cllr Eric Firth, Deputy Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said today:

"While investment in our transport infrastructure is welcome, these upgrades have been promised before so it is critically important that Network Rail sets out realistic timetables for when these projects will be completed and is transparent in their delivery.

"However it is disappointing this announcement does not appear to include capacity upgrades previously promised between York and Newcastle. This section will be vital to realising the full potential of HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, and we already know the line cannot accommodate additional planned trains alongside existing services.

"A reliable, resilient East Coast Main Line is vital to this region's future. Network Rail has identified a need for major investment in the next five years to renew much of the equipment on this line to sustain and improve reliability. We will be pushing Network Rail and the Regulator hard to make sure these projects are prioritised."

In its announcement today, the government said it was investing £780 million in the East Coast Main Line 'giving passengers more seats and faster, more frequent journeys'. It said major upgrades to the line, due to be completed in the early 2020s 'will mean passengers travelling on long distance journeys between northern towns and cities will benefit from more seats and faster, more frequent journeys between Doncaster, Leeds and Newcastle'.