Mansfield mayor calls for parties to work together to press for rail improvements

The mayor of Mansfield has contacted Network Rail East Midlands to set up a meeting of interested parties to press for rail improvements serving Nottinghamshire.

Monday, 10th January 2022, 8:20 am

Andy Abrahams, district mayor, wants ‘to ensure that collectively we provide the business evidence case and arguments to influence the UK Government before they have made their final decisions on the funding and timeline for the electrification of the Midland Mainline’.

He said: “If we wait to put forward and reinforce our ask, it is unlikely the Government will change their plans retrospectively to the timetable we want.

“The extremely slow progress in the electrification of the Midland Mainline over the last 10 years understandably makes me cynical about the promises made in the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan announced in November.

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Mansfield railway station.

“I am not a rail expert, but the ‘fast tracking’ of electrification of the Midland Mainline would bring benefits more quickly to our region than the proposed ‘new high-speed’ link from Nottingham to Birmingham.

“Connecting Mansfield to the electrified Midland Mainline would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to truly ‘level up’ and stimulate investment into North Nottinghamshire.

“Also, I cannot see why funding for the extension of the Robin Hood line should have to wait decades before the larger, extremely more expensive ‘high speed’ rail proposals are built?

“Equally, reopening up of the old line to form an east-west connection on the Maid Marian line would be a relatively cheap, but massively beneficial in connectivity and an economic boost.

Andy Abrahams, Mansfield mayor.

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“The government’s statement of ‘committed to exploring the Robin Hood and Maid Marian Line’ is not strong enough. We need to press for definitive funding and a timetable potential investors in North Nottinghamshire can have faith in.

“We have been badly served and starved of infrastructure investment for decades, so we don’t want or need to wait until the high-speed links have been built, we just need some connectivity to the slow-lane rail routes that currently exist until they have completed their upgrades.

“That would start an improvement for us and then I would have some faith, as actions speak louder than words.

“All the Conservative MPs in Nottinghamshire have voiced their support, so we need to work together now to ensure we get a positive outcome when Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announces his more detailed proposals .

“With the support of local leaders and Nottinghamshire MPs, there will never be a better opportunity to make up for decades of under investment in our region.”

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