More cheaper, faster trains needed now - Mark Hunter MP

February 19, 2009 12:06 PM
Mark

Mark speaking in the House of Commons about the need to invest in our rail network

Speaking in the House of Commons last week Cheadle constituency MP and Shadow Liberal Democrat Transport Minister, Mark Hunter called for the Government to take real action to make rail services better for all rail users.

In a special debate in the Commons Mr Hunter criticised the Government's recent Rail White Paper as failing to deliver on its promise to be a 30 year strategy and called on the Government to produce a detailed strategy that takes us beyond the next five years. He also criticised the Government for not taking the capacity challenge facing our rail network seriously and for not recognising how rail can help move us towards a carbon free society.

Mr Hunter said: "The Transport Select Committee response to the Government's Rail plans was very accurate. They and many other observers don't believe the Government are giving enough priority to rail transport. At the moment all the Department of Transport seem concerned about is expanding Heathrow, not about improving rail transport for hard pressed passengers.

"The Government's current strategy only covers the next five years - with massive overcrowding on our railway and people having to put up with delays and cancellations every day on their commute - it seems ridiculous that they have failed to plan for after 2014. We need investment now to improve our struggling rail network.

"We also need a long term rail strategy that commits to electrifying the whole network to improve efficiency and increase capacity. We need more carriages and trains on almost all our lines to reduce overcrowding, increase capacity and encourage more people to travel by trains.

"Government should also give a prompt commitment to High Speed Rail, not least because it takes decades to build the lines. Opening up old lines and stations, electrifying the whole network and introducing longer franchises in exchange for real improvements from Train Operating Companies - like reduced fares and extra carriages are all important priorities currently being ignored. Without this kind of investment from the Government our rail system will only get more crowded and less efficient."

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