With the HS2 announcement getting the headlines we must not forget about the importance of other rail investment priorities. Upgrading the Midland Mainline will deliver real benefits for the East Midlands.
HS2 will have real benefits, nationally and regionally, but these benefits are decades away.
For the East Midlands and parts of South Yorkshire the immediate rail investment priority is the full electrification and upgrading of the Midland Mainline.
The Midland Mainline is the slowest main route out of London and improving journey times between Sheffield, Chesterfield, Derby, Leicester and Nottingham to the capital will provide a real boost for the regional economy.
I have campaigned for the electrification and upgrading of the Midland Mainline for many years. Last year I led a delegation, including local MPs, to meet with the Railways Minister in Westminster to make the case. I have lobbied each Transport Secretary of the coalition government and alongside local government leaders from across the region met with Justine Greening in Loughborough.
Rory Palmer, statement on HS2 route announcement:
"Any benefits which HS2 will provide are decades away. In my view the urgent priority for rail improvements in the East Midlands is upgrading the Midland Mainline. It is vital for Leicester's economy and the East Midlands economy that these improvements happen as soon as possible."
"The Government plans say that faster trains will be on the Midland Mainline by the end of 2019 but we need it to be sooner than that. There will be benefits for the East Midlands from HS2 but those benefits are decades away. We need action now to boost the regional economy and bringing forward the Midland Mainline plans can help to do that."