England and Wales is set to see major investment in the countries rail network after the government announced a funding programme worth over £9 billion designed to improve public transport across the nations.

The Department for Transport (DfT) stated that once completed it will be able to bring faster journey times and more reliable services as well as allow an extra 140,000 commuters to use the network, improving public transport in both countries. The £9.4 billion package includes £4.2 billion of new schemes that aim to help the UK compete with major European nations which enjoy high speed rail networks. Prime minister David Cameron has described the plans "biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian era" while deputy prime minister Nick Clegg believes it will help to close the north south divide.

As part of the plans there will be the electrification and upgrade of the Sheffield to Bedford line which is due to cost £800 million. This will complete the full electrification of the Midland Main Line.

Other key improvements will encompass a £240 million project to make significant renovations of the East Coast route running between London, Leeds and Newcastle which aims to not only upgrade the line but increase capacity for the busy cross country route. There is also a Northern Hub project penned in which will improve the amount of people able to get on trains in the Manchester area with £322 million already set aside.

Mr Cameron added: "From Crossrail, high speed rail and now the billions of pounds of investment we are announcing today, this government is committed to taking the long term decisions to deliver growth and jobs.

"In what is the biggest modernisation of our railways since the Victorian era this investment will mean faster journeys, more seats, better access to stations, greater freight links and a truly world class rail network."

Work is due to start in 2014 as the funds were set out to be used over the five year period between 2014 and 2019 and also comes after a major regeneration plan of the Acton freight yard as part of the Crossrail development.

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