More mature (ahem) readers of my blog may remember the Jimmy Saville TV ad for British Rail from the early 1980's cheerfully imploring the nation to use the train more at a time when car ownership was rocketing. Well today's government announcement of a multi-billion spending package on rail transport contains some welcome news for the Midlands that will undoubtedly help boost all of the region's property markets.
Top of the list is the £800m of new funding to electrify and improve the Midland Main Line between London, Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield. While Birmingham has been in the transport limelight for some time (New Street station redevelopment, HS2), this announcement pushes East Midlands centres to the fore.
On my regular visits to East Midlands' cities I've lost count of the number of times property folk have told me how upgrading the existing rail links would significantly improve the case for attracting inward investors and retaining key occupiers - so I'm expecting there to be many pleased faces out there today. The prospect of new or refurbished trains is also potentially good news for Derby, home of the former British Rail works, now owned by Canadian trainbuilder Bombardier.
Particularly heartening for shed-heads is that Midland Main Line improvements aren't just focused on passengers. They are part of a new plan to create an 'Electric Spine', a rail freight corridor linking the East and West Midlands with the South Coast. And that could well bring benefits for logistics developments.
Of course we're still waiting for the fine print - apart from the electrification itself, what other improvements will be made to speed up journey times, and when will all of this happen?
Improving the trains won't solve fundamental property market issues, but in the middle of a double-dip recession it can surely only be a good thing?
Picture via Flickr.com by by Train Chartering & Private Rail Cars