THE GOVERNMENT says a £780 million investment in the East Coast main line will take place from 2019, to be completed in the early 2020s.

The announcement was made at a Cabinet meeting held in the North East of England, where legislation for a North of Tyne devolution deal was also confirmed. Government says the major upgrades will include improvements to platforms, tracks, signals and junctions across the route. Together with the introduction of new Class 800/801 Azuma trains, faster, more frequent journeys are promised.

The exact scope of the investment is presently unclear. In a letter to House of Commons Transport Committee Chair Lilian Greenwood, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the programme would support introduction of the Azuma fleet and would see ‘power improvements between Doncaster and Edinburgh, as well as enhancements at King’s Cross and in the Peterborough area’. Giving evidence to the committee on 24 July, Mr Grayling said the funding would come from the Control Period 6 (CP6) enhancements budget of £9 billion, adding ‘it is work that was first thought about a number of years ago, as most projects are, but it is now going to happen. We expect the work to start at Christmas.’