Yesterday in the House of Commons there was a brief debate about Transport Infrastructure which involved a Sussex MP (Sally-Ann Hart) and an MP from Croydon (Elliot Colburn) who referred to the Brighton mainline which of course is connected to the train routes from East and West Sussex that connect to the mainline in Hove, Haywards Heath and Three Bridges. It will be interesting to find out if the Government and Network Rail will make a difference in the next two decades
The first question which all of the MPs shared was
What steps his Department is taking to accelerate the delivery of transport infrastructure projects.
The responses came from Andrew Stephenson who is the MP for Pendle and also the Assistant Whip, Minister of State for the Department for Transport. His response to this question was
Transport infrastructure is central to the Government’s plans to build back better from covid-19, and the Department for Transport is at the forefront of Project Speed. We have also created our own acceleration unit as well as establishing the Northern Transport Acceleration Council, through which we have identified 112 schemes to progress.
The follow up question from Sally-Ann Hart was the first one from these two MPs
Investing in improved transport infrastructure is well recognised by my hon. Friend as a necessity for turbocharging our economy and levelling up. Beautiful Hastings and Rye has some of the most antiquated road and rail infrastructure in the country, which inhibits economic growth and is the reason why HS1 must be prioritised. If we are serious about levelling up left-behind communities, does my hon. Friend not agree that HS1, as promised by previous Ministers, now needs to be delivered? What discussions has he had with the Treasury to ensure that funding will be available to finance such a vital project?
And the response from Andrew Stephenson was
I pay tribute to my hon. Friend’s determination in drawing attention to this important local issue; this is the second time she has done so this week, I believe. As she will know, the strategic outline business case for the Kent and East Sussex coastal connectivity scheme is currently being progressed by Network Rail, and it is due to be submitted to the Department in April. I am sure that the rail Minister will be able to update her more in due course.
And then Elliot Colburn asked
Network Rail has finished developing plans for the Croydon area remodelling scheme to help to unblock the Croydon bottleneck—one of the most congested parts of the rail network, which impacts 300,000 commuters every day on the Brighton main line as well as those in areas of suburban London such as Carshalton and Wallington. What steps is my hon. Friend taking to ensure that this scheme has Government support in order to make it a success?
And the response from Andrew was
I know that my hon. Friend has met the Rail Minister on numerous occasions to discuss the Croydon bottleneck and the impact on stations across his constituency. We recognise the importance of the issue and are continuing to work closely with Network Rail and operators to develop the scheme further.