Anger as city misses out on rail upgrade
CITY MPs have criticised Network Rail for not including Hull in a £37.5bn plan to develop railway infrastructure over the next five years.
The plan, which Network Rail says will be the biggest investment since the Victorian era, promises faster journeys, more commuter seats and improved reliability.
But it confirms that electrification of lines between Hull, Leeds and York are not among the upgrade plans, with the upgrade stopping at Selby.
Hull North MP Diana Johnson branded the situation "absurd", while Hull East MP Karl Turner warned that economic growth in the region could suffer as a result.
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Ms Johnson said: "Yet again the economic regeneration needs of Hull are ignored by this Government.
"Hull people pay their taxes and ever-higher fares, but we don't get our fair share of the rail investment.
"It's absurd to stop rail electrification at Selby. It's like stopping an upgrade of rail infrastructure going into London at Stevenage.
"I hope a way can be found to get investment to complete this rail electrification."
Mr Turner said it was "deeply disappointing" that Hull was not one of Network Rail's ten key investment commitments.
He said: "There have been severe problems with the rail service from Hull over recent months and a key issue is a failure to electrify the final 30 miles of track between Hull and Selby.
"Fast, reliable transport links are vital for economic growth and business investment in the region. It is incredibly ill-considered not to include this short distance in its plans."
But a Network Rail spokesman emphasised that Hull's absence from the strategic business plan did "not mean that it will not happen".
The spokesman said: "Network Rail is ambitious for the railway and supports increased electrification.
"The Department for Transport has allocated funding to Network Rail to undertake development work on schemes that could be considered for the next funding period 2019-24. This could include electrification schemes to Hull and Middlesbrough."
Network Rail's business plan was unveiled just days after rail fares for season ticket holders in England, Wales and Scotland rose by an average of 4.2 per cent as the annual price hike, announced in August, came into effect.
Overall, ticket prices increased by 3.9 per cent, although rises varied between train operators.