Eric Ollerenshaw column: On track with high speed trains

Eric Ollerenshaw, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood
Eric Ollerenshaw, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood

This last week has been an extremely busy one for me in Parliament, being called to speak in the High Speed 2 (HS2) debate and the Cancer Patient Experience debate as well as being successful in getting my own adjournment debate on Flood Defences in Thurnham.

ith regard to HS2, as many of you may know I support this because not only do I believe a second north-south line is needed, I also feel that as well as speeding up journey times between the north and nouth it will also increase the space for extra trains. If you remember it was only a few months ago that we were told that proposed direct trains from London to Blackpool would not be going ahead due to the West Coast line being over crowded.

Surely this in itself should be an argument for the new line, without even taking into account the forecasts for future growth in passengers which will only exacerbate the existing situation .

The importance for Lancaster is that the future high speed trains will be able to travel on the existing West Coast Mainline track north of Manchester, thereby improving journey times for us and adding an extra London train an hour to the present service.

I was also glad to have the opportunity to speak in the Cancer Patient Experience debate and be able to raise, once again, the particular issues of patients who suffer from Pancreatic Cancer.

From recent figures it has become clear the patient experience of this cancer is different in terms of poorer diagnosis and poorer outcomes. One of the biggest problems with this disease is that of early diagnosis and I, together with colleagues from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pancreatic Cancer, am calling for a public awareness campaign to highlight these specific issues.

Locally I called in to Lancaster based web-hosting and design company NuBlue to present an ISO accreditation from the Business Standards Institute for Quality Management. This is one of the many awards that this rapidly growing company has gained and I was delighted to be able to meet their Directors Michael and Thomas Ashworth and their dedicated team.

This is a company that has grown out of the university and is now expanding and creating more jobs. It reinforces for me the need to really build on the university’s potential by developing a fully fledged Innovations Park sooner rather than later.