NEWS RELEASE- 5th
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After six years of campaigning, Harrogate Chamber of Trade and Commerce has
welcomed the announcement that the Harrogate rail line has been prioritised
by the Government for electrification.
Chief Executive Brian Dunsby said: "This is absolutely excellent news for
everyone concerned, and the result of extensive hard work and campaigning
over many years.
"Improving the rail service with electrification will make an enormous
difference to Harrogate. As well as modern rolling stock, which is something
we have needed for many years, we will benefit from increased frequency,
shorter journey times, and services earlier in the morning and later in the
evening, seven days a week.
"Obviously, this is very good news for local people, but importantly it is
also a significant development for the local economy. As a town reliant on
visitors, for both business and leisure, we need to have first class public
transport services to encourage as many people to come to Harrogate as
"This announcements is the beginning of the process of bringing Harrogate's
rail services into the 21st century. Combined with the new direct
services to London, which were announced in November by the new East Coast
franchisee, Virgin-Stagecoach, it will make travel to and from Harrogate a
much easier, more convenient and more enjoyable experience for everyone."
Chamber began campaigning for rail improvements in 2008, bringing in Mark
Leving, the former managing director of Hull Trains, to advise on possible
developments. He recommended both increased frequency of direct services
from Harrogate to London, and electrification of the local line from Leeds
to York via Harrogate.
These two recommendations were taken up by the Chamber which then produced a
proposal, "Why Harrogate Trains" which laid out the huge benefits which
electrification could bring. In 2011, it was given backing by local
authorities along the line, after lobbying by the Chamber supported by
Andrew Jones MP.
the transport authority for the area, North Yorkshire County Council
produced the business case for electrification, supported by the Chamber and
other local authorities. The project was at the top of the shortlist for
rail electrification in January 2014, which the Government put forward for
the Electrification Taskforce to consider. Andrew Jones MP was appointed
chairman of this taskforce.
Dunsby added: "We are so pleased that the hard work we began six years ago
has paid off.
must thank Mark Leving for all of his support and enthusiasm for the
project, which made it possible for us to put together a solid proposal for
electrification. The backing of all the local authorities and the MPs of
constituencies along the line was also vital to its success.
"We're grateful to everyone who took up this campaign, recognised its
importance to Harrogate, and pushed for the Government to take the project
on. Today's announcement is the culmination of many years of hard work and
campaigning and we are delighted that it has paid off."
Harrogate to London Direct trains
News on Harrogate Line