Rail Network Capacity

Transport – in the House of Commons on 28th January 2021.

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Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers Conservative, Chipping Barnet

What steps he is taking to expand capacity on the rail network.

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Department for Transport)

The Government have made record investments in building and modernising our rail network, and providing capacity for rail users. The spending review included over £58 billion of investment for road and rail transport between 2021 and 2025, delivering some of the Government’s largest capital projects and helping us to build back better post covid-19.

Photo of Theresa Villiers Theresa Villiers Conservative, Chipping Barnet

The Government’s programme of rail improvements is the biggest since the Victorian era. Will the Minister confirm that it is going ahead, even if passenger numbers take some time to recover from the covid outbreak? Will he also ensure that it delivers significant improvements to connections between our great northern cities, because that is essential to levelling up economic opportunities in our country?

Photo of Andrew Stephenson Andrew Stephenson Assistant Whip, Minister of State (Department for Transport)

My right hon. Friend makes an important point. We are getting on with delivering record amounts of investment in our rail infrastructure, particularly across the north, with the TransPennine route upgrade. We announced £589 million for that investment, joining Manchester, Leeds and other great cities across the north of England. That will be the biggest investment in the conventional rail network. Of course, at the same time we are also making progress with major infrastructure projects such as high-speed rail; last week we concluded the parliamentary passage of the High Speed Rail (West Midlands - Crewe) Bill, taking the railway line from the west midlands through to Crewe.