Businesses in the Cambridge technology cluster are to benefit from improved rail networks as part of a £9.4 billion upgrade programme unveiled today by the Government.Prime Minister David Cameron says the spend will deliver long-term growth and jobs and described it as “the biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian era. This investment will mean faster journeys, more seats, better access to stations, greater freight links and a truly world class rail network,” he said.
In the East of England the programme promises to provide faster journeys and more train capacity via £240 million of improvements along the East Coast Main Line from the North East down through Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire to London.
Bedford also benefits by the creation of a high-capacity ‘electric spine’ running from Yorkshire and the West Midlands to South Coast ports allowing more reliable electric trains to cut journey times and boost capacity for passengers and freight.
This comprises: an £800m electrification and upgrade from Sheffield - through Nottingham, Derby and Leicester - to Bedford, completing the full electrification of the Midland Main Line out of London St Pancras; and electrification of the lines from Nuneaton and Bedford to Oxford, Reading, Basingstoke and Southampton.
The entire programme promises capacity for 140,000 extra daily commutes by train. Crossrail, Thameslink, and electrification between London and Cardiff, Manchester to Liverpool and Preston, and across the Pennines, are among £5.2bn of projects already committed to during 2014-2019. The local upgrades above are included among new schemes totalling £4.2bn unveiled today.