Hartlepool MP calls on minister for much-needed improvements to town's rail services
She says Hartlepool is not set to benefit from the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan which includes £54bn to transform the rail network in the Midlands and other parts of the North.
Mrs Mortimer says while journey times on the East Coast Mainline are set to improve, it is unclear how Hartlepool would benefit.
She said in the letter shared online: “I understand that not all Government schemes can benefit all geographical areas, however when a proposal specifically aimed at levelling up the North does not address the desperate need for improved transportation links in the North East, particularly in coastal areas, questions must be asked.”
Mrs Mortimer is asking for clarification whether any coastal towns and stations within close proximity to Hartlepool are expected to benefit.
She said: “What myself and my constituents would like to know is what rail provisions are going to be put in place to improve smaller coastal train lines, providing greater access to cities across the North of England as well as the larger high-speed raile lines operating nationally?”
She also highlighted instances of overcrowding on the Northern Hartlepool to Newcastle journey raised with her by constituents.
She adds it is often 20 minutes late, affecting connectivity with the East Coast Mainline.
Mrs Mortimer stated: “This, paired with the fact that there are no direct trains running between Hartlepool and Darlington during the working week for example, is limiting Hartlepudlians’ opportunities”.
A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We’re spending £96bn – the biggest ever Government investment in our rail network – to boost our rail network and level up the entire country, not just city hubs.
“The IRP will overhaul and modernise rail connections across the Midlands and the North whilst delivering benefits to passengers, communities, and businesses up to ten years sooner than previous plans.”
The Department added it is working with Northern Rail to get service levels back to the new timetable as soon as possible, and are looking at longer-term options to significantly increase the frequency on the Durham Coast route.