Live updates

Plans on track to celebrate 200 years of the railways

Stockton Darlington Railway

Plans are underway to mark the 200th anniversary of the world's oldest railway.

In 1825 the Stockton Darlington Railway became the first public line to use steam locomotives.

It is still ten years until the historic North East railway reaches its second century.

The three local authorities through which the line passes are preparing to celebrate the landmark date with special events every year until 2025.

Treasury responds to IPPR report

"Rebalancing the economy and creating a northern powerhouse of jobs, investment and prosperity is a key part of our long term economic plan.

"We have made great strides and already created Transport for the North to speak with one voice to government on the big decisions to benefit the entire region.

"It is crucial we work together to deliver a world-class transport network for the North that reduces journey times, increases capacity and connectivity and enables growth and that's why we will be setting out our strategy for transport in the North in the next few weeks."

– HM Treasury spokesperson

Advertisement

What would the 'Transport for North' involve?

A thinktank is calling for the Chancellor to use this month's budget to give £15 billion to the North East.

They want to create a 'Transport for North' network, imitating the existing Transport for London.

But what would the 'Transport for North' involve?

IPPR have set out a 10-year blueprint for what they think Transport for North (TfN) should do:

  • Appoint a Transport Commissioner for the North, who would be accountable to the public and be a figurehead for developing northern transport.
  • Move towards a contactless, cross-boundary ticketing system - using mobile phones and contactless payments for journeys across different modes of transport.
  • Manage rail franchises, rolling stock and stations in an attempt to reduce overcrowded services and platforms.

£10 million to improve Newcastle's cycleways

It's hoped the money will make cycling safer in Newcastle Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Newcastle is to get ten million pounds to improve cycle routes in the city.

The money, announced by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, will expand and improve cycle and pedestrian networks to encourage people to cycle to work.

It follows an announcement by the Deputy Prime Minister at a cycling summit last November to extend £115 million of funding for eight cycling cities across the country.

In January this year Newcastle successfully bid for a share of the money.

"We are in the midst of a cycling revolution in the UK but we need to make sure we're in the right gear to see it through. That's why I'm so pleased to announce this investment for Newcastle to make it easier for people to get around on two wheels.

"With the legacy of the 2012 Olympics and the Tour de France in Yorkshire last year still fresh in our minds, this money can help Britain become a cycling nation to rival the likes of Denmark and the Netherlands.

"Research shows us that boosting cycling could save billions of pounds otherwise spent on the NHS, reduce pollution and congestion, and create a happier and safer population."

– Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg
Newcastle will receive £10 million Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Research commissioned by British Cycling, found if the UK became a cycling nation, like the Netherlands or Denmark, it could:

  • save the NHS £17 billion within 20 years
  • reduce road deaths by 30%
  • increase mobility of the nation's poorest families by 25%
  • increase retail sales by a quarter

"Cycling is great for your health and good for the environment, and this government is doing all it can to help more people get out on their bikes.

"We have doubled the amount of money available for cycling and taken steps to make sure that future governments plan properly for cycling.

"This investment shows our continued commitment to making cycling even easier and safer, and our ambition to help make these cities better for cycles."

– Robert Goodwill MP, Cycling Minister

Advertisement

East Coast: 'Best deal for passengers"

The East Coast rail line becomes privately run from today after more than five years in the public sector.

The route which links London with Edinburgh has been operated by the Department for Transport since 2009. But it has now been jointly taken over by Virgin and Stagecoach.

Protests were held yesterday by the RMT union, which has described the handover as an "act of gross national betrayal of the British people".

A Department for Transport spokesman said they were confident that the new East Coast franchise gave the best deal for passengers - providing more seats, more services, new trains and over £140 million of investment along the route.

The skills and experience that the private sector provides drives forward innovation and investment, and has helped to transform our rail network into a real success story.

– – DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT SPOKESMAN

Shadow Transport Secretary Michael Dugher said the ending of the state-run East Coast company was "a hammer blow for passengers, taxpayers and employees alike".

David Cameron's ideological sell-off has ended a public sector service which has delivered over £1 billion to the Treasury, kept fares down, had record passenger satisfaction and engaged the workforce with unparalleled success. It is clear that when it comes to transport, people have a straight choice - the status quo or Labour's better plan. Labour will start the process of legislating in the first 100 days of a new parliament to allow a public sector operator to be able to take on lines and challenge the private sector on a genuinely level playing field.

– – SHADOW TRANSPORT SECRETARY MICHAEL DUGHER

East Coast trains back in private hands

Trains between London, the North East and Scotland return to private hands Credit: Martin Keene/PA

Trains on the East Coast Main Line are back in private control today, as services are taken over by a consortium involving Virgin Trains and Stagecoach.

The line, which links the North East with London and Edinburgh, was brought into public hands in November 2009. It has since been run by a company under the control of the Government.

From this morning, trains will operate under the name Virgin Trains East Coast. Services carrying the new livery will be unveiled tomorrow, Monday 2nd March.

The decision to re-privatise East Coast has been criticised by the rail union, the RMT, and some North East Labour MPs, who said the arrangement had been working well for passengers and taxpayers.

The eight year deal includes a promise of new trains, more services and extra seats.

Load more updates