It’s full steam ahead for electric trains

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The biggest bid to upgrade Harrogate’s railway since Victorian times is to be officially presented to the Government after decades of relentless campaigning.

An official business case for electrifying the line – with backing from leading businesses and council officials – is to be formally put forward by Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones.

This bid, if successful, would bring huge benefits to the region, said Mr Jones, doubling the number of trains, making them faster and upgrading rolling stock.

“It would be an enormous change,” he said. “Not just for visitors but for the thousands of people who use the line every day.”

Mr Jones will be joined by stakeholders on Friday to officially launch the bid at Harrogate railway station.

The business case, with an investment summary suggesting £3.60 would be returned on every £1 of investment, will be presented to the Department of Transport in the next few weeks.

“The bottom line is that we need to improve the rail network,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of changes, and a lot of improvement. But this report is the real marker. The future of rail travel is electrified railways. I want our line to be a part of that.”

Harrogate would see huge benefits if the bid to electrify the rail line was successful, including:

l Doubling the number of trains passing through

l Faster trains taking people where they need to go

l Upgraded carriages

l £3.60 put back into the local economy for every £1 invested.

Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones will be joined by senior stakeholders at the town’s train station tomorrow (Friday) as the bid is prepared for the Department of Transport.

“Electrification improves accessibility to our area,” said Mr Jones. “This could lead to significantly increased business and leisure tourism, provide a further boost to our conference trade and help revive our town centres.”

Mr Jones will be joined by Alex Hynes, managing director of Northern Rail and Barry Dodd, chairman of the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership.

Officials from East Coast, Network Rail, Harrogate Borough Council (HBC), North Yorkshire County Council, the West Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority, Metro, York City Council and the Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce will also be present.

HBC deputy leader Alan Skidmore,said: “The evidence presented makes a compelling case for electrification and for investment in the line.

“We hope that ministers take note.”