Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew has today welcomed a long-awaited £589m kick-start for improvements to rail services in the north of England.
Most of the money will go on electrifying the line between Manchester and Leeds, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.
A new Northern Transport Acceleration Council, chaired by the Minister for the Northern Powerhouse with support from the Minister for Regional Growth, will comprise of political leaders from all parts of the North, allowing them direct access to Ministers to make sure they prioritise and accelerate projects that will deliver change for communities and businesses.
The Council’s primary focus will be driving forward the regional and local transport projects the North needs.
This first stage of the upgrade will include some electrification, as well doubling the key congested section of the route from two to four tracks.
Conservative MP Mr Andrew said:
“Having campaigned hard during my time as a Member of Parliament for better transport infrastructure and funding in the North, I am delighted by this announcement and it is very much welcome news.
“I was very pleased to stand on a manifesto that put the North at the forefront of the agenda, as it has been long overdue, and I am encouraged by the steps being taken that show that the COVID-19 pandemic has not impacted this ambition and that we can indeed build back better as we recover from this virus.”
‘Late, cancelled and overcrowded trains”
Bu Leeds West Labour MP Rachel Reeves said the Government had announced the package ‘many times before’. She said:
“Commuters at Bramley, Burley Park, Headingley and Kirkstall Forge have had to put up for too long with late, cancelled and overcrowded trains.
“It’s not good enough and holds back our economy as well as affecting people’s everyday lives.
“The £589m ‘kick-start’ for Transpennine rail announced today is welcome news but it’s also been announced many times before. What we need in Leeds and across the north of England is for government to actually deliver the better train services that have long been promised.”