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2003-03-26 DfT-001
Department for Transport

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Approval given to upgrade the West Coast Main Line


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West Coast Main Line modernisation
West Coast Main Line



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Department for Transport

Approval given to upgrade the West Coast Main Line
_______________________________________________________________


date
26 Mar 2003 00:00
source Department for Transport
type Press release



Plans to improve the West Coast Main Line to provide for increased capacity and greater reliability have been approved under the Transport and Works Act, Transport Minister David Jamieson announced today.

Powers are being granted to Network Rail to carry out a series of projects forming part of the programme to modernise the West Coast Main Line. This decision is in line with the recommendation of the inspector who held a public inquiry into the proposals.

The proposals relate to various works at different locations along the route. They include additional tracks between Rugby and Brinklow, and between Armitage and Lichfield; construction of a new platform at Nuneaton station, with a new fly-over and dive-under outside the station; and the closure of several level crossings for safety reasons.

Commenting on the decision, David Jamieson said:

"The work on the West Coast Main Line is essential to bring this important route up to a modern and reliable standard with increased capacity.

"The inspector concluded that the particular works for which approval has been sought are an essential part of the overall route modernisation programme. I agree with him and am satisfied that all the proposed works are necessary and appropriate. The conditions we are attaching will help to minimise any disruption and environmental impacts arising from the works."

David Jamieson went on to explain that responsibility for taking decisions under the Transport and Works Act on whether to grant powers for new railway, tramway and other guided transport projects, has now been transferred from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to the Department for Transport. He commented:

"John Prescott and Alistair Darling are agreed that these decisions should in future be taken by Transport Ministers. Each application will of course continue to be assessed very carefully on its individual merits.

"We are, however, making an exception in respect of the Thameslink 2000 project. In order to ensure continuity of handling, and because most of the applications for that scheme have been made under the planning and listed buildings Acts for which ODPM has responsibility, it has been decided to leave responsibility for the Thameslink 2000 decisions with the Deputy Prime Minister. "

Notes to editors
1. Railtrack plc (now Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd) applied for an Order under the Transport and Works Act 1992 to authorise a series of projects forming part of Phase 2 of the programme for modernising the West Coast Main Line.

2. The projects comprise the addition of new tracks at various locations in order to facilitate increased capacity and line speeds, the closure of level crossings for safety reasons, and a number of ancillary projects including new bridges and footpath diversions.

3. A public inquiry was held into the proposals, at 8 different venues along the route, between January and December 2001. The inquiry Inspector recommended that the Transport and Works Act ("TWA") Order should be made and that planning permission should be granted for the works, subject to conditions designed to minimise the impact of the works. His recommendations were subject to the qualification that various undertakings and agreements should be in place. All are now in place apart from one agreement which the Secretary of State does not consider needs to be concluded before the scheme is authorised.

4. It has now been decided to approve the scheme, subject to a very full set of planning conditions and with a number of modifications to the TWA Order. Full details of the decision and the reasons for it are set out in the decision letter which is today being sent to all interested parties. Details of the proposals can be obtained from:-

West Coast Route Modernisation Project Team, Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd, 1 Eversholt Street, London NW1 2DN, tel. 020 7904 7941.

5. This is the first TWA decision to be taken by the Secretary of State for Transport since he agreed to take over responsibility for TWA decisions, apart from Thameslink 2000, from the Deputy Prime Minister. As a consequence of this transfer of Ministerial responsibility, the TWA Processing Unit previously located in ODPM is transferring to DfT.

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
Department for Transport Website: http://www.dft.gov.uk



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