Campaigners press Transport Minister to back rail upgrade

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SELBY rail campaigners have met with Transport Minister Theresa Villiers to push for the proposed electrification of the rail line to the town.

The meeting at the Department for Transport (DfT) offices in London, which was also attended by Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams, follows a long-running campaign to get the district to benefit from the proposed electrification of the transpennine railway route and capitalise on funding initiatives announced in surrounding cities such as York and Leeds.

Campaigners say more investment is vital in cementing the district’s burgeoning reputation as a key commuter stronghold.

During the meeting, the secretary of Selby and District Rail Users Group (SADRUG) Reg French, presented a report on the possibility of early electrification of the line to Selby.

The Transport Minister agreed the proposals would be considered along with a report that the DfT and Network Rail had been asked to prepare for her.

“It is encouraging that so much interest was shown both by Nigel Adams and the transport minister in the points put forward in an attempt for Selby district to have the many benefits of electrification and that careful further consideration would be given to the possibility,” Mr French said.

Nigel Adams said: “I was delighted to welcome Selby Rail Users Group to Parliament and was encouraged by the positive meeting we had with the Rail Minister Theresa Villiers.

“The case for extending electrification is a good one and I await the Network Rail report and recommendations with great interest.”

This summer will mark a critical point for the future of railways across Yorkshire and beyond, when the DfT announces which schemes are to be included in its next five-year works programme.

Regional transport bosses have already submitted plans to the DfT in an effort to influence ministers over the urgent need to address Yorkshire’s overcrowded railways.