Aldous questions Transport Minister about funding for railway stations

Waveney MP Peter Aldous yesterday questioned the funding that the Government has allocated to improve railway stations.

Mr Aldous believes that there is a compelling case for redeveloping Lowestoft Railway Station to return the station to a good state of repair and to make it a focal point for the regeneration of Lowestoft.
This comes as part of an ongoing strategy to upgrade the line by implementing speed improvements and level crossing closures, which will produce an attractive return in terms of bringing more people into Lowestoft and foster jobs.

Mr Aldous said:
“Seaside towns such as Lowestoft, which are invariably isolated physically “at the end of the line”, are at a particular disadvantage in attracting new business.

“I hope that the Government will recognise that this is a drawback which must be addressed if we are to rebalance the UK’s economy and work with the people of Lowestoft to achieve this goal at the earliest possible opportunity.”

FULL TEXT:

Peter Aldous (Waveney) (Con): What funding he has allocated to improve railway stations. [123212]

...

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Norman Baker): A major programme of station improvements is under way, with several key stations, such as Birmingham New Street, being significantly enhanced. We are also continuing to fund improvements through the national stations improvement programme, the Access for All programme and the station commercial project facility. In addition, enhancements are planned at stations as part of franchise commitments.

Peter Aldous: I am grateful to the Minister for that answer. The new hourly service on the East Suffolk line starts on 10 December. That is welcome news, although unfortunately the stations at Beccles and Lowestoft remain in poor condition. Will the Minister encourage Network Rail to work with Greater Anglia and Suffolk county council to upgrade the two stations and ensure that the necessary line maintenance is carried out so that maximum speeds can be achieved and that the benefits of the new service can be fully realised?

Norman Baker: Yes is the simple answer. The train operator has a commitment to refresh all its stations before 2014. It hopes that the work will include Lowestoft, Woodbridge and the stations in between and be completed before the service enhancement. The bus-rail interchange improvement at Lowestoft station will result in an improved waiting environment for users. Network Rail is also looking to develop a commercial scheme that could provide improvements at the station.

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