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East Coast Main Line (Rolling Stock)

Volume 551: debated on Thursday 18 October 2012

In July this year, the Government announced a £4.5 billion investment in new trains under the intercity express programme. That will include new trains to replace the existing high-speed train sets on the east coast main line.

In the eastern counties, we are very appreciative of the fast service and the excellent rolling stock up to Newark. However, when one gets beyond Newark and into Lincolnshire, one enters a time that land forgot—and, indeed, that the Department for Transport seems to have forgotten. Will the Minister assure me that, as part of the invitation to tender process, he will ensure that there is sufficient good-quality rolling stock, in particular diesel trains, so that the long-standing campaign involving me, my hon. Friend the Member for Cleethorpes (Martin Vickers) and the hon. Member for Great Grimsby (Austin Mitchell) for a direct service to Cleethorpes, via Market Rasen, has some chance of success?

I am extremely grateful to my hon. Friend for that question. I hope that I can go some way towards reassuring him by saying that the Government are committed to having 35 new trains on the east coast, which will be a combination of electric trains and bi-mode diesel and electric trains. It would be premature to say where those trains will feature on the network, but consideration will be given to the need to improve the service along the whole line.