HS2

18.11.16

Chancellor urged to focus on small rail improvements in Autumn Statement

Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) has urged the chancellor to use the Autumn Statement to invest in small and local rail projects.

The pressure group’s submission to the statement, which will be made on 23 November, was focused on the theme of ‘Fix It First’, where Philip Hammond was encouraged to deliver small-scale projects such as fixing potholes and building cycle paths instead of investing in big road projects.

Across rail, CBT said the government should deliver more “short-term measures” to improve services, similar to its recent £20m improvement fund for Southern Rail.

It accused the DfT of carrying out major projects such as East Coast Main Line electrification “on the cheap”, when smaller improvements, such as straightening out curves or relaying points, would be more effective in improving reliability.

Furthermore, CBT argued the government should increase rail capacity by building new stations, reopening closed lines and stations, and adapting lines retained for freight for passenger trains.

It recommended delivering this by investing further rounds of the New Stations Fund in reopening old lines.

The organisation identified 12 priority lines for reopening. These included the East-West Rail link, which transport secretary Chris Grayling recently insisted the government is still committed too.

The others are:

  • Ashington - Blyth – Newcastle
  • Portishead - Bristol
  • The Worcester to Derby Main Line Railway between Stourbridge and Burton
  • Leamside line
  • Lewes - Uckfield 
  • Skipton - Colne
  • Leicester - Burton-on-Trent
  • Fleetwood - Preston
  • Wisbech - March
  • Totton - Hythe
  • Bere Alston - Tavistock  - Okehampton

(Image c. Geoff Sheppard)

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Comments

Noam Bleicher   18/11/2016 at 14:21

Small measures will be welcome, but so will some medium-sized ones which have been stalled for far too many years, like the shovel-ready Bicester-Bletchley route, which needs £100m to start work.

Lutz   18/11/2016 at 23:04

Failed for use of 'Campaign' in name; clearly lefty political activists working in conjunction with RMT/KGB

HL   23/11/2016 at 13:37

Totally agree - it is not all about HS2 and London.

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