David Cameron and Nick Clegg have unveiled details of a £9 billion railway investment programme across England and Wales.
Projects will include the full electrification of the Midland Main Line between Bedford and Sheffield, and a new £500 million rail link between the Great Western Main Line and Heathrow.
“This is the biggest expansion in railways in over 150 years,” said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
New schemes totalling £4.2 billion announced today include:
- Improvements to the East Coast Main Line from the North East down through Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire to London.
- The electrification of the Midland Main Line from Sheffield – through Nottingham, Derby and Leicester – to Bedford, and electrification of the lines from Nuneaton and Bedford to Oxford, Reading, Basingstoke and Southampton.
- The full electrification of the Great Western Main Line out of London Paddington, and electrifying the Welsh Valley lines, including Ebbw Vale, Maesteg and the Vale of Glamorgan.
- Completion of the “Northern Hub” cluster of rail enhancements.
- A new £500 million rail link between the Great Western Main Line and Heathrow.
- Upgrades to stations and tracks creating enough capacity around cities for an additional 140,000 daily rail commutes at peak times, including lengthening of platforms at London Waterloo station.
Crossrail, Thameslink, and electrification between London and Cardiff, Manchester to Liverpool and Preston, and across the Pennines, are among £5.2 billion of projects already committed to during 2014-2019.
Work on the new projects announced today will not begin until 2014 at the earliest.
The government has said that the HLOS package will be funded by fare rises and efficiency savings expected to be made through electrification of the network.
Transport Secretary Justine Greening said: “These plans to increase capacity and shorten journey times on intercity, commuter and freight services are, alongside our plans for high speed rail, absolutely key to securing our country’s prosperity in the decades ahead.”
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “From Crossrail, high-speed rail and now the billions of pounds of investment we are announcing today, this government is committed to taking the long-term decisions to deliver growth and jobs.”