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Rail Reform

Volume 639: debated on Thursday 19 April 2018

The Secretary of State’s strategic vision for rail was published in November 2017, and sets out our key reforms. Better teamwork between franchise operators and Network Rail will make the railway more responsive to customers’ needs and move power closer to local areas.

South Gloucestershire Council is pushing ahead with its plans to deliver a vital half-hourly train link from Yate to Bristol. Will my hon. Friend explain how his rail policies will help to achieve that, and will he consider visiting Yate so that he can see at first hand how important the upgrade is to our local community?

Improving connectivity around our great cities, including Bristol, is exactly the kind of scheme that our reforms are designed to deliver. The Government will continue to work closely with local partners to deliver the MetroWest scheme in the Bristol area. We are also examining the potential for the new MetroWest services to be extended beyond their currently planned termini.

Tarmac’s Dunbar cement plant in East Lothian transports substantial amounts of its product down the east coast main line to London to fuel the construction industry here. What steps is the Minister taking, as part of his plan, to facilitate better engagement between passengers, rail freight users and Network Rail commuters?

That is an important subject, which we hope the new east coast partnership will help to address.

Order. I know the whole House will want to join me in congratulating the hon. Member for Bromley and Chislehurst (Robert Neill) on his engagement to Ann-Louise Whittaker, and may I say to the hon. Gentleman that, notwithstanding the fact that he is a very young man to be planning to rush into matrimony, we all wish him and Ann-Louise a very happy wedding on Friday 27 July?