Geoff Hoon backs high-speed North East rail link

TRANSPORT minister Geoff Hoon tonight said he believed there was a strong case for a new high-speed rail link serving the North East.Mr Hoon told The Journal that a report in the New Year would reveal the Government’s plans for upgrading the existing rail network.But he suggested he would like to see high-speed as a part of that and said running such a line up the East Coast was a good option.Mr Hoon, who was addressing the North East Economic Forum Annual Dinner on the eve of today’s conference in Newcastle, said the Government planned to invest £10bn in improving the UK’s rail capacity.He said: “There seems to be an assumption around that any high speed line will go up the West Coast but we have just spent £8bn upgrading the West Coast line and that has seen improved journey times and increased passenger numbers.“If you take a line from London to Scotland one clear option is to run it up the East Coast and that takes it past major centres such as Newcastle, Sunderland, York and Leeds.

TRANSPORT minister Geoff Hoon tonight said he believed there was a strong case for a new high-speed rail link serving the North East.

Mr Hoon told The Journal that a report in the New Year would reveal the Government’s plans for upgrading the existing rail network.

But he suggested he would like to see high-speed as a part of that and said running such a line up the East Coast was a good option.

Mr Hoon, who was addressing the North East Economic Forum Annual Dinner on the eve of today’s conference in Newcastle, said the Government planned to invest £10bn in improving the UK’s rail capacity.

He said: “There seems to be an assumption around that any high speed line will go up the West Coast but we have just spent £8bn upgrading the West Coast line and that has seen improved journey times and increased passenger numbers.

“If you take a line from London to Scotland one clear option is to run it up the East Coast and that takes it past major centres such as Newcastle, Sunderland, York and Leeds. There are no similar communities
in the West, north of Manchester. You are not going to be picking up large numbers of passengers in the Lake District.”

However Mr Hoon stressed no decision would be taken on such a project until a detailed report had been prepared by his department.

TRANSPORT minister Geoff Hoon tonight said he believed there was a strong case for a new high-speed rail link serving the North East.

Mr Hoon told The Journal that a report in the New Year would reveal the Government’s plans for upgrading the existing rail network.

But he suggested he would like to see high-speed as a part of that and said running such a line up the East Coast was a good option.

Mr Hoon, who was addressing the North East Economic Forum Annual Dinner on the eve of today’s conference in Newcastle, said the Government planned to invest £10bn in improving the UK’s rail capacity.

He said: “There seems to be an assumption around that any high speed line will go up the West Coast but we have just spent £8bn upgrading the West Coast line and that has seen improved journey times and increased passenger numbers.

“If you take a line from London to Scotland one clear option is to run it up the East Coast and that takes it past major centres such as Newcastle, Sunderland, York and Leeds. There are no similar communities
in the West, north of Manchester. You are not going to be picking up large numbers of passengers in the Lake District.”

However Mr Hoon stressed no decision would be taken on such a project until a detailed report had been prepared by his department.

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