Following a major East-West Conference held in London today,Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner has written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP to ask for his assurances that East West Rail will be electrified, not diesel, and that it will be a public railway. He also pressed him to scrap the controversial Expressway, in favour of road improvements to the existing network and encouraging “modal shift to public transport“.

He said “There is a fear that the Expressway proposals are a twentieth century solution to a twenty-first century problem, and in a time of climate crisis and need for modal shift away from cars, major new road building should not be a Government priority.“

At this morning’s conference on developing the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor, Mr Zeichner asked the chairman of East West Rail whether or not the railway would be electric, how it would support environmental sustainability, and what its purpose was. Mr Brighouse expressed his support for new technology in the rail sector, and electrification, and described his ongoing discussions with the new Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps.

Mr Zeichner comments:

“East West Rail presents major opportunities for productivity growth, connectivity, jobs and housing – but it should be environmentally sound, have capacity for freight to reduce emissions and be a real public service. If we don’t engage local residents and make the benefits very clear, while tailoring the service to what’s needed across the region, it risks falling flat.“

“However, I don’t see the logic in building a major new motorway when we should be promoting public transport use, and concentrating on improving services. Yes, we should make road improvements where necessary, but I think we should scrap the Expressway as a project in its own right.“

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