Fares, rail policy and DfT news

11.03.19

Rail minister gives boost to Hull-Manchester Airport direct rail link

Rail minister Andrew Jones has pledged to look at the options for a direct train service from Hull to Manchester Airport.

Jones told MPs and business leaders that he would take a strategic look into a direct service, and into a rail link between northern Lincolnshire and London.

Hull North MP Diana Johnson said it was “frankly ridiculous” that Hull was the only Northern Powerhouse city without a direct service to the airport, and welcomed Jones’ visit to Hull to hear the genuine concerns of a range of people.

She said: “With some good will from Transport for the North, and from the Department of Transport we could get some of these things sorted out fairly quickly.

“For example, the faster train across to Manchester, a half-hourly service, and a train to Manchester Airport.”

Johnson said she also asked the minister to look into the need of increasing the frequency of services to Leeds which currently run every hour.

Dr Ian Kelly, the chief executive of the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce, added: "I think he [Andrew Jones] recognises for Hull to be the only city in the Northern Powerhouse not to have a direct link into its major hub airport is bizarre.

“It's about different bits of government joining up to make it happen and recognise the connection between hi-tech investment by the likes of Siemens and Orsted in offshore wind and the need to improve a transport infrastructure which, in some places, dates from the age of the stagecoach.”

In the meeting at Phillips 66 headquarters the rail minister also said the expansion of direct lines to Lincoln from the capital 30 years after it closed would open the door for direct trains between Grimsby and northern Lincolnshire.

Regarding the London rail link, Cleethorpes MP Martin Vickers said: “We had a very positive response from the minister. I've been campaigning for a return of the direct service for a good few years, and that campaign might be coming to an end.

“I'm more hopeful than I've been for many years. We've got a minister who is very sympathetic and has listened to the business community talk about the importance of the line, and the extension of trains to Lincoln makes the idea much more viable.”

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