Vital for long-term future of network

Creates hundreds of jobs: David Horne.
Creates hundreds of jobs: David Horne.
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A BROAD welcome for the Government’s long-awaited plans has come from rail operators, politicians and campaign groups.

David Horne, managing director of East Midlands Trains, which runs the Sheffield to London service, said: “Electrification will provide a smoother, quieter and quicker ride for passengers, cutting journey times while crucially delivering more capacity to cater for future growth.

“Not only will it be good for the environment, the project will create hundreds of jobs during the construction period, providing an estimated £450m of wider economic benefits to the cities and towns we serve.”

Ian Bevan, managing director of local rail operator Northern, which will benefit from station improvements and the upgrade of the Hope Valley line, said: “The announcement will deliver the enhancements to infrastructure capacity that will be vital to securing the long term future of the rail network in the north.”

Sheffield South East Labour MP Clive Betts said: “We’ve been campaigning for 20 years for the Midland Main Line to be electrified – it’s great news.”

And Sheffield Council’s Labour cabinet member for transport Coun Leigh Bramall added: “This good news has been hard won.

“Importantly, electrification will helping the city attract inward investment and boost business growth.”

Green Party transport spokesman Coun Rob Murphy added: “We welcome electrification of the Sheffield to London train line due to the reliability, environmental and cost benefits. But this improvement must be accompanied by wider investment in public transport, buses as well as trains, so that everyone in and around Sheffield can benefit from better services.

“Investment costs should not be borne by passengers paying higher fares. Many fares are unaffordable already and the government should be funding rail improvements after decades of under investment. “All travellers benefit from better public transport which reduces road congestion and air pollution.”

But RMT rail union General Secretary Bob Crow said: “All of the rail projects on this shopping list have been talked about for years and with the surge in passenger demand we cannot afford further delays.”