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High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill

Part of Speaker’s Statement – in the House of Commons at 8:51 pm on 28th April 2014.

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Photo of Eric Ollerenshaw Eric Ollerenshaw Conservative, Lancaster and Fleetwood 8:51 pm, 28th April 2014

It is a pleasure to follow Mike Kane. Perhaps, for once, we will vote in the same Lobby. I want to express my gratitude and that of other Government Members from the north to the Labour leaders of the great cities of the north for the impact that they have had on the shadow Front-Bench team over the past few months.

Last year, my neighbours and hon. Friends the Members for Blackpool North and Cleveleys (Paul Maynard) and for Wyre and Preston North (Mr Wallace) sat down with Virgin Trains to consider the possibility of providing a direct train from London to Blackpool, with a stop at Poulton station, to assist the regeneration of Blackpool and Fylde. That would have an impact on my constituents in Fleetwood and on the constituents of my hon. Friend the Member for Wyre and Preston North. Virgin said that it could put on two direct trains a day to Blackpool, which would have changed the whole situation. However, when we got to Network Rail, we were told that no room existed on the west coast main line for those direct trains. The capacity issue is having an impact now—not in a few years time. It has prevented those trains from running.