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£780m investment in East Coast Main Line welcomed

A train makes its way over the Royal Border Bridge on the East Coast Main Line, south of Berwick station.
A train makes its way over the Royal Border Bridge on the East Coast Main Line, south of Berwick station.

North East business leaders today welcomed a multi-million pound investment for major upgrades to the East Coast Main Line.

The Prime Minister today set out an investment of up to £780million for the upgrades from 2019, as she held her Cabinet meeting in Gateshead.

The work will take place over the next few years and will see significant improvements to platforms, tracks, signals and junctions across the route.

Together with new Intercity Express Trains on the East Coast Main Line, this will mean passengers travelling on long distance journeys between northern towns and cities will benefit from more seats and faster, more frequent journeys between Doncaster, Leeds and Newcastle.

James Ramsbotham, North East England Chamber of Commerce chief executive, said: “We greatly welcome this long overdue investment investment in the East Coast Main Line which is such an important artery connecting us throughout the length of Britain from London and Aberdeen. We also continue to push for the investments in Heathrow and HS2.”

Discussions at today’s Cabinet meeting were to be focused on implementing the Government’s Modern Industrial Strategy, making sure it delivers a Brexit deal which works for every corner of the UK and discussing the pivotal role of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in boosting growth and prosperity across the Northern Powerhouse.

Theresa May also confirmed that government will lay the legislation to formally conclude the North of Tyne Devolution Deal with Northumberland, North Tyneside and Newcastle.

The deal, which marks a  transfer of powers from central government to local people in the North of Tyne, is worth £600million over 30 years and is expected to generate 10,000 new jobs in the region.

Alongside this, as part of the wider economic transformation of the North East, the Prime Minister announced a further investment of £180 million to drive forward innovation and cutting-edge research in the field of offshore renewable energy innovation.

Mrs May said: “Making Britain a country that works for everyone, in urban and rural regions, is a priority for my government, and a thriving economy across the Northern Powerhouse is central to that.

“We have set out major policies and investments as part of our Modern Industrial Strategy to unlock the potential in the North and more than any government in history, we are making sure that we are delivering the outcomes that really matter to people who live and work here.”