Good news – except that we all know rail services across the North West collapsed in the spring when new timetables were introduced and are still on their knees despite a summer of emergency timetables.
Rail users – and the businesses and communities that rely on people being able to move efficiently around our region – are suffering. I have received a large number of representations from constituents who are affected.
We need a long-term strategy to drive up investment across the North, and we need a plan for immediate action. The government has a duty to work with communities across the North to deliver both.
That is why I joined a cross-party group of over 80 MPs and political leaders in writing to the Chancellor demanding a £100 billion regional road and rail investment programme to ‘reverse decades of underinvestment.’
The programme would centre on increasing capacity and cutting rail journey times, particularly east to west across the North.
It includes new high-speed lines between Manchester and Liverpool, Sheffield and Leeds as well as upgrading existing lines between Leeds and Hull and Sheffield and Hull.
I want the Chancellor to respond positively to the united voice of political leaders in the North and invest for the future, but we need immediate action too.
The high cost of the rail fiasco has been underlined by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership which says that months of cancelled and delayed trains has cost businesses in our area nearly £38 million.
The costs to individuals are also mounting. For instance, two Sundays ago Northern rail failed to run almost every timetabled service between Liverpool and Manchester Airport – at the height of the holiday season.
I will continue to work closely with colleagues from across the North West and North to force the government to take responsibility for the chaos.