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East Lancashire rail passengers 'out in cold'
BRITAIN’S train track bosses were last night accused of ignoring East Lancashire passengers in a £37.5 billion plan to invest in rail across the UK.
Blackburn MP Jack Straw said the bulk of the cash was going to the London commuter belt.
Stephen Martin, chairman of Save The East Lancashire Line Association (STELLA), said: “Once again local passengers have been left out in the cold and there is nothing for the East Lanc-ashire line.”
The £37.5bn plan to develop the UK’s railway infrastructure over five years, to paid for partly by more above inflation fare rises, promises faster journeys, 170,000 more peak-time commuter seats and improved reliability.
- A thousand miles of new electrified lines including the Great Western and Midland Main Lines;
- Providing 20 per cent extra morning peak seats into central London;
- Providing 700 more trains a day linking key northern England cities and a 10-minute reduction in journey times between Manchester and Leeds;
- Spending £1bn to improve the network in the South and South West; and
- Station improvements at Birmingham New Street and Reading, and £4bn upgrading lines in Scotland.
Yesterday a Network Rail spokesman said benefits to East Lancashire in the plan included the £530 million Northern Hub programme for extra trains between Bolton and Manchester with faster journeys to Bradford and Leeds.
He said the Todmorden curve was a separately funded scheme with delivery scheduled for December 2013 The spokesman added that improvements to trains between Blackburn, Clitheroe and Manchester was a separate cash bid by Blackburn and Darwen Borough Council, with Network Rail support which could be delivered by December 2016.
Blackburn MP Jack Straw said: “I’m glad that there is recognition in the National Rail plan of improvements to the Manchester to Clitheroe line, and the Todmorden curve but this spending plan is still biased too much in London and the South-East.
“Few passengers there would put up with such ancient rolling stock as we still have.”
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