Government railway announcement ‘leaves Teesside in the rusty sidings’

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (July 16th 2012) said that today’s much trumpeted announcement on UK railway re-vitalisation has “left Teesside in the rusty sidings when it came to railway modernisation.”

Tom said:
“Over past months I have repeatedly asked transport ministers to look to see whether the electrification of the line linking Middlesbrough with the East Coast Main Line at Northallerton could be done as part of the overall national plan. Despite this, today’s announcement says nothing at all about the needs of Teesside – either for electrification of a relatively short stretch of line, or for overall route improvement to allow for easier rail access for the busy Teesport complex.”

“So whilst we will see other areas of the country benefit, we will, one again be left waiting in the sidings. The failure of Ministers to respond to these needs today again calls into doubt the real commitment of the Government to see that Teesside is plugged into the circuit board of a proper electrified UK rail network.”

“As it stands Middlesbrough is now almost certainly the largest town in England which will not be an electrified route. This is gross neglect and cannot be allowed to continue. I will not rest on this issue and will, again, be writing to both Justine Greening, the Transport Minister, asking for this vital element of rail investment to be delivered for rail travellers from Teesside. If not corrected, this could pose a real threat to our Trans-Pennine services to Leeds, Manchester and Manchester Airport – and indeed possibly a new direct link to London – as Teesside is left to wither on a non-electrified branch line.”

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