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140mph plan for East Coast


Redevelopment of Leeds station also mooted

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has announced Government proposals to increase train running speeds on the East Coast main line to 140mph.

The move forms part of the Government’s long term economic plan for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, delivered in an address in the region on 5 February.

Also announced was the commissioning of a report into the redevelopment of Leeds station and support for electrification to Selby and Hull.

Mr Osborne announced in his speech that the Department for Transport and Network Rail ‘have begun talks to develop a business case for the infrastructure improvements to make 140mph running on the East Coast a reality’. The InterCity 225 sets currently in use on the route have a design speed of 140mph but are presently limited to 125mph. The new Hitachi Class 800/801 Super Express Trains, due to enter service from 2017, will also be capable of achieving this higher speed.

Mr Osborne also said that he has asked HS2 Chairman Sir David Higgins to produce an interim report exploring the options for a major redevelopment of Leeds station, in preparation for the arrival of HS2. The report is to be delivered in the autumn. Remodelling of Leeds station was one of the suggestions made by Sir David in his ‘Rebalancing Britain’ report for HS2, published in October. Mr Osborne said that ‘a Leeds station regeneration board has already been established to look at how to maximise the benefit to the whole city’.

The Chancellor also said the Government would be ‘supporting the private sector contribution to make the electrification of the Selby to Hull railway line a reality’.

A ‘comprehensive transport strategy’ for the north, offering further details on a High Speed 3 east-west rail connection, is to be part of an interim report published by the Government and Transport for the North in March.

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