Northern Echo launches campaign calling for major investment in North-East rail

Northern Echo launches campaign calling for major investment in North-East rail

ROLLING STOCK: A Northern Rail Pacer at Darlington railway station. Picture: ANDY LAMB

ROLLING STOCK: A Northern Rail Pacer at Darlington railway station. Picture: ANDY LAMB

ROLLING STOCK: A Northern Rail Pacer at Darlington railway station. Picture: ANDY LAMB

ROLLING STOCK: A Northern Rail Pacer at Darlington railway station. Picture: ANDY LAMB

ROLLING STOCK: A Northern Rail Pacer at Darlington railway station. Picture: ANDY LAMB

ROLLING STOCK: A Northern Rail Pacer at Darlington railway station. Picture: ANDY LAMB

ROLLING STOCK: A Northern Rail Pacer at Darlington railway station. Picture: ANDY LAMB

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Regional Chief Reporter

NOW is the time for the Government to think big and invest in the North-East and North Yorkshire's rail network.

The Northern Echo, with the support of business leaders, council chiefs and MPs, is calling on ministers to help the region help itself by delivering rail services that support communities and drive growth.

Decades of underinvestment have left the region with a second rate service that bears little resemblance to the modern network enjoyed by other regions of the country.

The Right Lines campaign calls on the Government to ensure the new Northern Rail and TransPennine operators are given the tools to deliver a range of improvements to the rail network including:

- The replacement of 30-year-old trains

- Improvements to run-down stations

- Better customer services, including sufficient staff on trains and at stations

- More services, including a commitment to maintain services at smaller stations

- Smart ticketing across the region

- Faster journeys from improved infrastructure and better reliability

- Better links with other transport modes

The campaign has already attracted widespread support from North-East business leaders and decision makers, as well as national transport campaigners.

The Campaign for Better Transport, which has raised concerns that the Government is looking at the refranchising exercise as a way of cutting costs, said: "We fully support The Northern Echo's Right Lines campaign and it is now up to the Government to act now, listen to people and set out its vision for the new trains, decent stations and better services which towns and cities across the North need."

The campaign has the support of the North East Chamber of Commerce, with director of policy Ross Smith saying that improving transport connections is crucial to the prospects for North-East business growth.

He added: "Given our location, fast and reliable access to other UK markets is essential, while high quality services within the region are needed for both staff and customers.

“Rail has to play a huge part in that and this is a big opportunity for Government to make the investments we need and ensure the next franchisees have the tools they need to do the best job possible for our economy.”

Stephen Catchpole, managing director of local enterprise partnership Tees Valley Unlimited also backed the campaign, saying: "We fully support the aims of Right Lines, which are issues which we have raised during the consultation process for the new franchises."

Giving his support, Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson said the North-East deserved better.

"London and the South-East has a fantastic transport infrastructure - if just a fraction of what was spent there was spent in out region we would be a lot better off."

Darlington MP Jenny Chapman described the Right Lines as "an important campaign".

She added: "The services that will be provided as a result of the refranchising will form the building blocks for the awarding of further contracts.

"If we get this wrong, we could lose out on opportunities in the future, but if we get this right, we will be creating a much brighter future for opportunities in Darlington and across the Tees Valley ."

The MP added that for about £3,000 spent per person on transport in the South-East, a mere £5 was spent per person in the North-East.

The Northern Echo is asking passengers to tell us about their experiences travelling on the region's railways and say what improvements they would like to see.

To give your views, email joe.willis@nne.co.uk, leave a comment on this story online at northernecho.co.uk or tweet us at #rightlines

Comments (7)

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9:19am Mon 1 Sep 14

ChrisFooteWood says...

"Right Lines" is on the right lines. I we had only half the investment in rail pro rata that the South East currently enjoys, the economy of the region would be transformed.
"Right Lines" is on the right lines. I we had only half the investment in rail pro rata that the South East currently enjoys, the economy of the region would be transformed. ChrisFooteWood
  • Score: 3

12:05pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Gamechanger says...

Well done Northern Echo. This is the sort of campaigning journalism we need. I would also like to see MPs lead from the front too. I would suggest a parallel campaign for investment in roads. As I have said before Better Together doesn't just apply to Scotland and the UK it applies to the North East and the UK too. Release the North East powerhouse!!
Well done Northern Echo. This is the sort of campaigning journalism we need. I would also like to see MPs lead from the front too. I would suggest a parallel campaign for investment in roads. As I have said before Better Together doesn't just apply to Scotland and the UK it applies to the North East and the UK too. Release the North East powerhouse!! Gamechanger
  • Score: 4

12:11pm Mon 1 Sep 14

David Lacey says...

Now is the time? NO! NO! NO!
.
The time was right when we had a booming economy and a Labour Prime Minister domiciled in the Region. What did we get SFA!!!
Now is the time? NO! NO! NO! . The time was right when we had a booming economy and a Labour Prime Minister domiciled in the Region. What did we get SFA!!! David Lacey
  • Score: 1

1:10pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Counterview says...

Nice of David to acknowledge the economy was booming under Labour. Until the bankers wrecked everything that is. The shambles since 2010 is of course, something else. Now we have a "governing" party split from head to toe over Europe. The Conservative and Neanderthal party staggers on.
Nice of David to acknowledge the economy was booming under Labour. Until the bankers wrecked everything that is. The shambles since 2010 is of course, something else. Now we have a "governing" party split from head to toe over Europe. The Conservative and Neanderthal party staggers on. Counterview
  • Score: 1

6:17pm Mon 1 Sep 14

David Lacey says...

Just read what Chucky boy has said about Gordon!
Just read what Chucky boy has said about Gordon! David Lacey
  • Score: 1

7:11pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Counterview says...

Gordon hasn't been in power for over four years now. He was in government the last time the economy was booming. The bankers put paid to that.

For the last four and a bit years we've limped along under a hopelessly divided party. Two jags Prezza was around prior to the election to keep the back benchers in reasonable order.
Gordon hasn't been in power for over four years now. He was in government the last time the economy was booming. The bankers put paid to that. For the last four and a bit years we've limped along under a hopelessly divided party. Two jags Prezza was around prior to the election to keep the back benchers in reasonable order. Counterview
  • Score: 0

12:21pm Tue 2 Sep 14

Peter Welby says...

Revamping of the Middlesbrough - Newcastle (direct) service urgently needed: Tees Valley local services need to have recognised connections into Trans-Pennine trains at Middlesbrough: Saltburn-Bishop Auckland service needs overhaul and putting on regular interval basis: big speed up required on Tyne Valley route to Hexham and Carlisle. Not to mention modern electric trains, more services on Sundays..........kee
p at it Northern Echo, the range of improvements needed is legion!
Revamping of the Middlesbrough - Newcastle (direct) service urgently needed: Tees Valley local services need to have recognised connections into Trans-Pennine trains at Middlesbrough: Saltburn-Bishop Auckland service needs overhaul and putting on regular interval basis: big speed up required on Tyne Valley route to Hexham and Carlisle. Not to mention modern electric trains, more services on Sundays..........kee p at it Northern Echo, the range of improvements needed is legion! Peter Welby
  • Score: 1

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