Transport hub

22 September 2013

Maria Eagle, the Shadow Secretary of State for Transport, underlined her commitment to HS2 and to keeping the East Coast in the public sector at the Labour Party conference in Brighton.

Speaking at a fringe meeting organised by the Transport Hub, a pressure group which represents organisations such as ABTA, British airports, and the Freight Transport Association, Maria said: ‘HS2 – or, as I prefer to call it, the North-South line, because it’s not just about high speed rail – is vital to British transport and to the British economy.

‘We need new lines to carry more passengers and to carry more freight – many passengers have to stand every day because there aren’t enough seats on packed commuter trains – and many freight services are also running at near full capacity.’

Maria, who was being interviewed by Sophy Ridge of Sky News, and also took questions from the floor, said: ‘We want a railway that offers better value for money to the taxpayer. And it is self-evident, looking at the East Coast main line, that the railway is better run in the public sector.

‘Franchises fall during the next parliament and that gives us an opportunity to do something about the way we run the railway in Britain.’

The Transport Hub fringe was held in the Durham Hall at the Hilton Brighton Metropole. Curiously,although the rest of the building was beautifully air conditioned, the hall was an absolute sweatbox.

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