Doncaster Council calls on Government to invest in East Coast Mainline to improve reliability

South Yorkshire politicians have urged to the Government to invest in a major railway line to help boost train travel through Doncaster.

Friday, 25th October 2019, 2:19 pm
Updated Wednesday, 30th October 2019, 8:38 am
An Azuma train at Doncaster station

Both Doncaster Council and Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis have called on ministers to invest in the East Coast Main Line in order to improve reliability.

Campaign group East Coast Mainline Authorities – which includes councils like Doncaster, York, Peterborough, Aberdeen and Inverness – also want the ‘promised infrastructure improvements’ to allow the full delivery of the 2021 timetable.

The group said constraints on the line have lead to significant disruption and in 2018, 12 major incidents occurred costing the UK economy £46.28 million.

The East Coast Mainline dropped below 80 per cent for the first time in 10 years on the Public Performance Measure.

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The PPM is a measure of the punctuality and reliability of passenger trains in Britain. It is the percentage of scheduled trains which successfully run their entire planned route, calling at all timetabled stations, and arrive at their terminating station .on time.

In June 2018, the Government announced £780 million of investment for the East Coast Mainline, which will reduce journey times on key flows and provide new direct links to some cities and towns.

But the majority of this work will be completed by 2021 with no current plans for further improvements or resources to fund them.

Coun Bill Mordue, cabinet member for business, skills and economic development at Doncaster Council and vice chair of ECMA, said: “The East Coast Main Line is strategically important for the UK’s economy and it is vital the government invests in the line to ensure it realises its full economic potential.

“This is much more than improving reliability and punctuality of service, it’s about investing in the rail network to deliver jobs, growth and economic prosperity in the future.

“Doncaster like all the other town and cities supported by the ECML route will benefit enormously through the appropriate investment.

“Any delay or cancellation of the HS2 Phase 2B eastern leg will make this all the more important.”

Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis added: “It’s vital that the Government invests in the East Coast Main Line to reduce disruption to passengers in the short term and to safeguard this vital route in the long term.

“Improving this route is a key part of my Integrated Rail Plan, which aims to bring together local and regional lines to build a rail network fit for the 21st century.

“For example, just five miles of new track would enable a new station to be built on the East Coast Main Line at Doncaster Sheffield Airport. This station would place our region's airport firmly on the map for people all the way from London to Edinburgh, create new jobs, and act as a catalyst for significant economic growth.”