Following a further delay to the refranchising of the East Coast Mainline (ECML), Gavin Strang MP said today that there are grounds for hoping that we will soon see progress.
The refranchising of the ECML was first put on hold in February because Railtrack had increased their cost estimates for the upgrade of the line.
That delay was lifted at the beginning of March.
But the process has been delayed again.
The Strategic Rail Authority is establishing a Joint Venture to take forward the upgrade of the line, removing that responsibility from Railtrack. The franchising process has been delayed so that the bidders for the franchise can tell the SRA how they propose to participate in the Joint Venture.
The bidders – GNER and Virgin Stagecoach – had until 17 April to respond.
Speaking in Musselburgh today, Gavin Strang MP said:
‘I was pleased to see the original delay lifted, and it is disappointing that things have been put on hold yet again.
‘But once the bidders’ proposals are in, the way should then be clear for concrete progress in the refranchising and the upgrading of the East Coast Mainline.
‘The future investment in the East Coast Mainline should be good news for East Edinburgh and Musselburgh – particularly the proposed Musselburgh Parkway station, which should be a major benefit for people travelling into Edinburgh.
‘I will continue to do what I can to encourage the various parties to facilitate the investment which we need here – the sooner the better.’