Plan for Rail is a 'watershed moment'

May 19th 2021

England’s Economic Heartland has welcomed publication of the Williams-Shapps Plan For Rail.

Mayor Dave Hodgson, Chair of England’s Economic Heartland’s Strategic Transport Forum, said: “This is a watershed moment for our nation’s railways.

“We welcome Government’s long-term commitment to rail through the creation of an integrated body. This provides the opportunity to ensure rail’s potential is maximised and allows us to work with our partners to align investment in local connectivity.

“Our railways must be at the heart of the country’s decarbonised transport system – it’s why delivering East West Rail is of such importance for the Heartland and the Oxford to Cambridge Arc. We need the move to electrify the wider rail network taken forward at pace. We must continue to see investment in rail as a catalyst for restoring passenger confidence and supporting sustainable economic growth, with stations acting as focal points for the communities they serve.

“EEH – and the other sub-national transport bodies - are uniquely positioned to work with Great British Railways to deliver a network which puts the user at its core. This includes working together to improve the planning and provision of rail freight – a crucial aspect of maximising the potential of a 21st century rail network which supports the decarbonisation of the wider transport system. It’s why EEH continues to press for delivery of the Felixstowe to Nuneaton corridor improvements.

“In working with Great British Railways EEH will build upon the strong working relationship with Network Rail and the wider rail sector, which has provided the basis for developing a rail investment programme for the region and which has directly informed our Transport Strategy.”

England’s Economic Heartland is the sub-national transport body for the region from Swindon across to Cambridgeshire, and Northamptonshire down to Hertfordshire.