Minister for the North East must deliver on high speed rail

August 26, 2009 10:10 AM

Reacting to news that Network Rail are proposing that the London-Scotland high-speed rail link will follow the West Coast rail route serving Birmingham, Manchester, and Glasgow, Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesman for Newcastle East Greg Stone has urged the Minister for the North East to ensure that the Government brings forward alternative proposals which create a genuine national high-speed network including the North East region via an East Coast service which could also link in Teesside and Yorkshire.

Speaking on BBC Radio Newcastle this morning, Greg warned that the North East cannot afford to be taken for granted on transport spending any longer, and highlighted the economic and sustainability benefits of having a network serving both the East and West Coast lines. He noted that the Government has already failed to deliver on road improvements for the North East, and warned that the region's economic performance would be hamstrung if excluded from the new system.

Greg said "The Government has the chance to bring forward alternatives to the Network Rail plan, which could include an H-shaped network for the East and West Coasts with a trans-pennine connector between Leeds and Manchester, or a Y-shaped service with a central spine to the Midlands and then branching up the east and west coasts. Failure to include the North East would be final proof that the Labour government is taking this region for granted.

"This is now a test of the Minister for the North East's political credibility. It is up to Nick Brown to persuade the Government to literally change track. If he fails, it will be difficult to disagree with the Guardian's view that "he talks a big game but he is Âstruggling to deliver when it counts."