Business bosses call for new investment in railway route

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A MAJOR rail link between South Yorkshire and London is set to be back in private hands within two years.

The Doncaster to London line has been run under the control of the Department for Transport since November 2009 after transport company National Express pulled out.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced the start of a new bidding competition for the East Coast franchise with an expected start by the new operator in February 2015.

Business leaders welcomed the plans but urged the Government to make sure whoever takes over the route is committed to investing in the line.

Dan Fell, chief executive of Doncaster Chamber, which represents businesses, said he was keen to see whoever took over the route putting money into building more areas where fast trains can overtake slower ones.

He said: “We welcome it going back into private hands. We would push the Government to look at a longer franchise for the line so as to give more time for the operator to invest and upgrade.

“The main thing that we would like to see is transport infrastructure which is reliable, predicable, and above all, something that works.”

He added Doncaster needed a competitive rail link to complement the HS2 high speed line which is due to come to South Yorkshire.