Funny how it takes the collapse of a rail track (Dawlish) to get Government on the case re a decent rail network for the region but better late than never. Feeling that now the subject is under discussion, Dan Rogerson is doing well to push for better rail links to the north of Cornwall, and especially branch lines to Bude and Launceston.
Dan Rogerson MP has welcomed today’s decision to conduct a comprehensive review into rail links between Cornwall, Devon and London which will look at re-introducing train services to Okehampton and Tavistock.
Following the collapse of the sea wall at Dawlish this week, the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, announced that the Government are working to restore and protect the main line at Dawlish as soon as possible.
At the same time he said that the Government will conduct a “rigourous review” of other options for linking the Great Western rail line south of Exeter and into Cornwall.
Trains last ran on the line between Exeter and Plymouth via Okehampton and Tavistock in 1968. Regular services between Okehampton and Exeter continued until 1972, with trains only running now on Sundays in summer.
North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson has campaigned to re-introduce more services to and from Okehampton to bring services close to the Launceston and Bude areas, and to examine the case for re-opening branch lines to Bude and to communities along the north coast to Padstow.
During a Parliamentary debate on railways in North Cornwall in June 2013, Mr Rogerson asked Transport Ministers to consider more services to Okehampton to benefit communities in east Cornwall and to help “if there were problems with the line further south in Devon”.
Dan Rogerson commented:
“The priority for the Department for Transport is, rightly, to repair the damage at Dawlish to re-open and protect the existing main line from Penzance to London Paddington.
“However, I welcome the Government’s decision to look at all the possible options for improving and protecting railway services to and from Cornwall. Restoring services between Exeter and Plymouth via Okehampton and Tavistock would help with capacity, help to bring services closer to Launceston and Bude, and help to keep Cornwall connected if there were problems with the line at Dawlish.
“The discussions should also examine the case for bringing any new line across into North Cornwall to ensure maximum resilience and to provide more options for Cornish residents and businesses.”