TEES Valley campaigners have revealed their hopes for the electrification of the whole of the region’s rail network.
Council leaders, along with Tees Valley Unlimited, say constraints in the current rail infrastructure are acting as barriers to the area achieving its full economic potential.
They have joined forces to call for improvements including:
l The implementation of a comprehensive line electrification programme for the North East.
l The section between the East Coast Mainline and Middlesbrough and Teesport to be included in the Trans-Pennine North Electrification scheme. They argue that this would not only provide a significant benefit immediately, but pave the way for further electrification of the Durham Coast and Tyne Valley lines during the next 15 years.
l The replacement of Pacer trains that make up much of the rolling stock. TVU and the local authorities believe that replacing Pacers is a fundamental requirement as many trains, particularly those operating local services, are some of the oldest on the national network.
l A change in timetables to meet the changes in land use patterns, the needs of businesses and people’s changing lifestyles.
Councillor Robbie Payne, chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Regeneration Services Committee, added: “Connectivity sits at the heart of growth and the establishment of thriving 21st century economies and we are determined that Tees Valley’s rail tracks, rolling stock and stations are enhanced for the benefit of local industry and residents.”
Sandy Anderson, chairman of Tees Valley Unlimited, said: “Effective and efficient transport networks are crucial to the Tees Valley economy, which is why TVU, with the support of our partners and stakeholders, is pushing for improvements to the area’s rail infrastructure. In particular, we believe that the implementation of a comprehensive line electrification programme for the North East is vital to our efforts to improve the area’s economic prospects.”
Coun Bill Dixon, leader of Darlington Borough Council and TVU Vice-Chairman, said: “Our case is based on hard economics as modern and efficient rail infrastructure is crucial because of the housing and business developments that are taking shape throughout Tees Valley.”