Sheffield MPs welcome Midland Main Line investment
Date: 17/07/2012. Story submitted by: Gael Stigant
Submitted by: Gael Stigant
Sheffield MPs Paul Blomfield and Angela Smith have welcomed the news that the Midland Main Line is to be fully electrified, speeding up journeys between Sheffield and London.
The Labour MPs both approve of the plans to improve the line by making it faster, cheaper and more environmentally friendly, but urge government ministers to ensure other concerns are also addressed.
Paul Blomfield, the MP for Sheffield Central, said the reduced journey times would not happen if there continue to be bottlenecks at the Derby, Leicester and Market Harborough stations.
And Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith has raised concerns over how the improvements will be funded.
Mr Blomfield, who quizzed transport ministers in parliament over the bottlenecks at key locations on the line, said: “The decision to electrify the Midland Main Line is a victory for communities all along the route that have been campaigning for the investment, but electrification itself will not deliver the improved journey times we need.
“Electrically powered trains are cheaper and cleaner, but we won’t see the publicised cuts to journey times unless all three bottlenecks are tackled. Ministers must make sure they deliver track improvements at key locations on the line to ensure we get faster journey times and the associated economic benefits.”
Ms Smith said the economic impact of the project is of "huge significance" in South Yorkshire.
She added: “There are outstanding questions, however, relating to when the work will be undertaken and how it will be paid for.
“If fare-paying passengers end up footing a large part of the bill, that would stand as an indictment of this government’s attitude towards managing the country’s finances. It will have shown itself willing to award tax cuts to millionaires but unwilling to prevent hard-pressed rail passengers from facing huge hikes in prices.”
The Midland Main Line’s electrification is part of a £9.4billion package of railway improvements for England and Wales announced by the government yesterday. In total, an extra 850 miles of track will be electrified.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who is the Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam, said: “The ‘Electric Spine’ will make a significant difference for passengers linking London, the Midlands and Yorkshire in a much more efficient rail line, connecting the South and North more effectively than ever before.
“As someone who cares deeply about the environment, the opportunity to dramatically expand rail, a greener form of transport than aviation or road is very exciting indeed. This investment will help people to choose trains over cars, reduce carbon emissions and provide a rail system that is faster, more reliable and greener.”
Address: Sheffield S1 2
Tags: Midland Main Line, Sheffield Train Station, Labour, Angela Smith, Paul Blomfield, electrificationTo comment, please sign-in or register.
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