COUNCIL leaders from towns and cities along the East Coast Main Line have met in York to mark out priorities for investing in the rail route.

The first meeting of the representatives from local authorities from Stevenage to Scotland was held last month after being instigated by City of York Council leader James Alexander, coinciding with the Department for Transport confirming the franchise for the line would not be put on hold.

The councils, who met again yesterday, have teamed up to “present a strong position” to the Government and call for improvements to the route’s infrastructure so it can cope with demand. Coun Alexander said: “York has very close ties with the railway and the rail industry, and for the first time local authorities have come together to lobby for the future of the line.

“We are making a difference, as since our first meeting Transport Minister Norman Baker said the Government was now playing its part to increase capacity on the route over the next two years.”

Coun Alexander said the councils were looking to identify ways of working together to maximise the economic benefits of the line, and are seeking “fuller involvement” in the process to decide who takes on the franchise.