Fears of higher fares as Government unveils ‘biggest modernisation of railways since Victorian era’
NEW rail schemes worth more than £4.2 billion have been announced by the UK government.
Added to £5.2bn of already-announced projects, the new money takes the amount to be invested in the railways between 2014 and 2019 to £9.4bn.
Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the plans as “the biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victoria era”.
But the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) warned it was now necessary to ensure the plan was affordable and deliverable.
Campaigners said they feared the promised investment would mean further high increases to season tickets that are already due to go up by 3 per cent above the RPI inflation level in January 2013 and in January 2014.
Projects that have already been committed to the 2014-19 period included the completion of the ongoing Crossrail and Thameslink schemes, and electrification between London and Cardiff, Manchester to Liverpool and Preston and across the
The £4.2bn worth of new schemes includes:
• Upgrades to stations and tracks creating enough capacity around cities for an additional 140,000 daily rail commutes at peak times. This includes £350 million for the lengthening of
platforms at London’s Waterloo
• Faster journeys and more train capacity from £240m of improvements along the East Coast Main Line, from north-east England down through Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire to London;
• The creation of a high-
capacity “electric spine” running from Yorkshire and the West Midlands to South Coast ports. This comprises an £800m
electrification and upgrade
from Sheffield – through Nottingham, Derby and Leicester – to Bedford, completing the full electrification of the Midland Main Line out of London St Pancras and electrification of the lines from Nuneaton and Bedford to
Oxford, Reading, Basingstoke and Southampton;
• Taking electric rail beyond Cardiff to Swansea, completing the full electrification of the Great Western Main Line out of London Paddington at a total cost of more than £600m, and electrifying the Welsh
Valley lines, including Ebbw Vale, Maesteg and the Vale of Glamorgan;
• Completion in full of the “Northern Hub” cluster of rail enhancements with the approval of £322m of outstanding track and capacity upgrades across Manchester city centre, Manchester Airport and across to Liverpool. These are in addition to £477m of Northern Hub schemes already approved across the north of England, such as electrification of the North Trans-Pennine route between York and Manchester.
• A new £500m rail link between the Great Western Main Line and Heathrow.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the investment would “help people to choose trains over cars, reduce carbon emissions and provide a rail system that is faster, more reliable and greener”.
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Tuesday 18 June 2013
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