East Riding councillors are calling on the Government to consider specific investment in the railway infrastructure to improve services between East Yorkshire and other towns and cities on the East Coast mainline.
At a recent meeting of East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s environment and regeneration overview and scrutiny sub-committee, representatives from Transport for the North, First TransPennine Express, Arriva Northern and First Hull Trains outlined improvements scheduled for the coming year.
While members welcomed plans for improved trains and rolling stock, members were concerned over the apparent lack of investment in the rail infrastructure east of Selby and have written to Chris Grayling, MP, Secretary of State for Transport asking for specific investment to better connect East Yorkshire with other economic centres in the north.
Councillor David Elvidge, chairman of the environment and regeneration sub-committee said: “It’s great to hear the rail companies have plans to upgrade their trains but I’m disappointed with the lack of investment in the infrastructure.
“The planned TransPennine route upgrade does not include any proposals to improve line speeds on the Hull to Selby section – a crucial link between East Yorkshire and the economic centres of west and north Yorkshire as well as the North West.
“Proposed improvements further west on the line will benefit passengers from our area but appear to be insufficient to provide capacity for the return of the direct service to Manchester Airport from Hull and the East Riding.
“The abandonment of the proposed electrification between Liverpool and Hull was explained on the basis that significant improvements in capacity and line speed would still be achieved right across the north.
“The introduction of bi-mode trains was given as another reason why electrification would not be necessary but these new units still have to run at a reduced speed once they have left the East Coast mainline.”
It was recently announced that the council, along with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority have made a case for an hourly direct rail service between Goole and Leeds, which has been welcomed by Councillor Elvidge.
He added: “There are several relatively low cost improvements that could be introduced to improve rail connectivity in our area.
“Currently, the direct route between Goole and Leeds only has two trains westbound and one eastbound a day.
“An hourly service would assist the development of the Port of Goole and support the introduction of additional advanced manufacturing in the town, evidenced by the planned Siemens train manufacturing facility.
“This may be considered through the Northern franchise but the additional funding would be modest.”