LIBERAL Democrat Councillors in Gateshead are to press the Council to urge the Government to back a high speed rail link for the North East.
The call is being made following the announcement that Network Rail will build a high speed rail link from London to Scotland but will by-pass the North East by taking the route through the North West instead.
In a motion to be debated on Thursday 17th September, Gateshead Council will be asked to “call on the Secretary of State for Transport to ensure that a high speed rail network is built which includes an East Coast Line.”
The motion will be moved by Councillor Jonathan Wallace, himself a regular user of the current East Coast Line between the North East and London.
Cllr Wallace said, “The rail link between our region and London and the South East is crucial for the North East economy.
“The current line is the only one that makes a profit for the Government but it is operating close to capacity.
“Whilst it is good news that Network Rail have backed the creation of a high speed network, missing out the North East, at least in the initial phase, will come at a great cost to our economy.
“It will also present us with the absurd situation of finding it quicker to get to London by heading north to Edinburgh pick up the high speed train than to go direct.
“I am hoping for cross party support for the motion and a unanimous voice to the Secretary of State that makes it clear the North East must be included in the high speed network.”