A comment was made earlier about investment in the north, and the Azuma trains, which will shortly be running to the north-east and Scotland and are already running in Leeds, are a huge investment in transport connections to the north. They will reduce journey times, and alongside that, the substantial multi-hundred million pound investment that we are putting into the east coast main line will improve journey times, too. That is another sign of this Government’s commitment to providing better transport links in and for the north.
I welcome that answer. The Secretary of State is right that the introduction of the new Azuma trains is an exciting development for the city of York, given the importance of the east coast main line to our great city, but can he assure me that we will have no further delays in their introduction? There have been signalling problems north of York, and the Azuma trains will be arriving in York on 1 August.
My understanding is that those trains are on track to start running as targeted at the start of August and will be going to Scotland later this year. They will deliver a transformative experience—more seats and faster, better journeys for people travelling from Scotland in the north to London and within the north, between places such as York and Newcastle. This is a really important investment.
I hope that history will be kind about the right hon. Gentleman’s contribution to transport in our country. These trains were promised last December, and they are still not properly in service. When will we get them? Is he not concentrating totally on that waste of money called HS2, which is squandering the national treasure?
It is interesting that when I speak to civic leaders in the north, they all talk enthusiastically about HS2. The new trains are already operating and have been for several weeks. They have been operating, as intended, initially on the route to Leeds; they will start on the route to York, Newcastle and Edinburgh shortly; and later this year and/or early next year they will be in operation right the way up through Scotland. This is a huge investment in better transport for people all the way up the east coast.