£9bn railway investment announced by Coalition Government

From the BBC:

A £9.4bn package of investment in the railways in England and Wales, including £4.2bn of new schemes, has been unveiled by the government.

The plans include electrification of the Midland Main Line between Bedford and Sheffield.

Other rail improvements have been unveiled for the Manchester area, south Wales and East Coast Main Line…

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who is due to meet business leaders with the PM, said the plans would help “close the north south divide”.

Building work on the rail projects will not start until at least 2014, as the announcement covers the period 2014 to 2019.

It includes £5.2bn for the completion of current schemes, such as Crossrail and Thameslink and £4.2bn for new projects.

Here’s the reaction of Julian Huppert:

For decades our railways have been neglected. Over the last 50 years our network has halved, but since 1980 passenger journeys have doubled. The result is a less efficient and more expensive rail network than our European counterparts.

I am delighted that the Coalition Government is doing the right thing, prioritising spending on rail to sort out this mess, despite the massive deficit.

This investment will reduce journey times, create new services, ease over-crowding, bring down running costs, reduce the impact on the environment and generate jobs and growth across the country.

The costs of using trains shot up under Labour and we need to continue to ensure rail transport becomes more affordable.

Liberal Democrats believe that public transport should be sustainable, reliable and available to all. We were the first to back high-speed rail and the strongest supporters of new investment. Now we’re in Government, the country is investing more than at any time since the Victorian era.

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