Peter Aldous calls for fast-track investment in new trains in East Anglia

Waveney MP Peter Aldous last week called on the Government to consider proposals to fast-track the provision of new trains which are much needed in East Anglia.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Aldous made the case directly to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport for the need for investment in trains in East Anglia without delay. Having received feedback from Suffolk County Council and Greater Anglia, Mr Aldous pointed out that the delay in tendering for a new longer rail franchise is holding up the provision of new trains in Suffolk and Norfolk.

Stephen Hammond confirmed that the Government had commissioned Lord Brown to advise on the future of franchising. He gave reassurances that the Government is currently looking into his report that was published on 10 January, and stated that they would be pleased to consider fast-track rail investment as called for by Peter Aldous.

Following the question in the Chamber, Peter Aldous will look to raise the matter with Simon Burns, Minister of State for Transport, at the Eastern Rail Summit in Westminster on 31 January. The objective of the summit is to investigate the rail demands and the resources available to improve the train service in East Anglia.

Mr Aldous said:
“Greater investment would be extremely welcome and would transform travel in East Anglia. Better trains will help attract passengers and investment will help the Waveney economy, as well as providing an alternative to driving. I am pleased with the assurance that the Government will consider proposals for there to be new trains on our railways ahead of the grant of a new franchise and I look forward to the Eastern rail summit where I hope that progress can be made.”

FULL TEXT:

Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con): What assessment his Department has made of the role of the private sector in the UK's railways. [137502]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Stephen Hammond): Since privatisation, the number of passenger miles travelled has nearly doubled. Rail freight has increased by over 60%, the level of passenger satisfaction has risen by 10% in the last decade, and the level of punctuality has risen by nearly 14 %.

Peter Aldous: The delay in tendering for new longer rail franchises is holding back much-needed private sector investment in trains in East Anglia. Will the Government consider the proposals that have been drawn up to fast-track the provision of those urgently required new and upgraded trains?

Stephen Hammond: The Government commissioned Lord Brown to advise on the future of franchising. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State said earlier, his report has now been published, and the Government are looking at it. I understand that proposals have indeed been drawn up, and the Government will happily consider those proposals. I suggest that my hon. Friend should try to meet my right hon. Friend the Minister of State at the eastern rail summit, which will be held in the spring.

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