£9 billion rail spruce-up planned in 2014
Hip hip hooray – the nation’s railways are going to get better! There’s a £9 billion investment coming and we might all be paying for it! The plans are set to be announced in 2007 later today and are believed to include this bunch of stunning upgrades:
• Electrification - completion of the Midland Main Line from Bedford to Sheffield, local lines in the Welsh Valleys, and an extension of the already-announced electrification between Manchester and Leeds.
• The Northern Hub - a series of projects around Manchester that improve northern rail capacity to get more and faster trains across the north of England.
• Upgrades to the East Coast Main Line from London to Leeds and Newcastle.
• The reopening of the east-west link from Oxford and Aylesbury to Milton Keynes
• Electrification of the lines from London to Bristol and Cardiff, and from Manchester to Liverpool, Blackpool and Leeds.
Nick Clegg says that it’ll all help “close the north south divide”, weirdly assuming that both parties want it to be closed. He also said "It's good for the environment because it produces a cleaner way of getting about and it'll help millions of rail passengers in the future who'll be able to rely on clean, timely and reliable trains."
The work will be carried out between 2014 and 2019 and Labour say that most of the money will come from raising the amount that Network Rail is allowed to borrow. Chances are that fares will rise to repay those extra loans.
oh, and £5 billion of the money will be spent on the completion of ongoing schemes like Crossrail and Thameslink. Yes, that’ll help bridge the north south divide fo sho.