North East transport chiefs welcome HS2 announcement

The body responsible for transport in the North East has welcomed the Government’s announcement that HS2 will go ahead – but said urgent investment was needed in the East Coast Main Line now for the region to feel the benefit from future high-speed trains.

Councillor Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee and Leader of Gateshead Council, has written to the Prime Minister to say he believes that HS2 will help the North East’s fragile economy to develop and grow through significant investment and transformed rail links.

He also urged the Government to urgently invest in the infrastructure of the East Coast Main Line which is vital for residents and businesses in the North East to strengthen economic ties with the rest of the Northern Powerhouse.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Cllr Gannon said: “We are very pleased that you have chosen to proceed with the full HS2 Network as originally planned.

“This decision makes it even more essential that the Government invests in the existing rail network as a matter of urgency.

“The North East needs a commitment to major investment in the East Coast Main Line (ECML) north of York, upon which the North East will now be even more reliant to connect us to HS2.

“This investment is essential to provide the necessary reliability, capacity and line speed to allow trains to and from our area to connect to HS2 quickly and reliably. The ECML services must operate at the same high standard as a ‘High Speed’ line.”