Dan, the Lib Dem MP for North Cornwall, was speaking after this week’s announcement that the Coalition Government is investing £146 million to improve rail services between Penzance and London.
The investment will see signalling improvements to help speed up journeys and to allow for more regular local services between Plymouth and Penzance. Funding will also be used to improve the sleeper service. Which is great for those wanting to go to Plymouth or Penzance, and stations in between. However…
Dan also wants to see investment in railways to benefit people living in north and east Cornwall who aren’t served at all by existing rail services.
Mr Rogerson has submitted over 1700 petition signatures along with letters of support from local councils, community groups and business organisations to Network Rail and the Department for Transport to demonstrate local backing for bringing rail services closer to North Cornwall.
Network Rail is currently looking into five options for an additional alternative rail route to Devon and Cornwall following the damage to the track at Dawlish earlier in the year. One option being considered is bring regular mainline services back to Okehampton, and possibly on to Plymouth by re-opening the line via Tavistock.
Trains currently only run to Okehampton on Sundays in summer months.
“This week’s investment to improve existing train services to, from and within Cornwall is undoubtedly good news for residents, businesses and visitors, especially the upgrade to the sleeper service which Cornish Liberal Democrats have successfully fought to save from the axe before.
“However, this investment doesn’t mean that our campaign to bring railway services closer to north and east Cornwall has hit the buffers. Everyone in Cornwall deserves to have access to a decent railway service, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to bring back regular mainline railway services to Okehampton. This would bring rail services closer to North Cornwall, and would help keep the Duchy connected if there were any future problems at Dawlish or anywhere else along the existing mainline.
“I will keep working with local people and businesses to make sure Network Rail and the Government know how important it is to have better rail services serving North Cornwall as they consider the options for a new rail route in our area.”
Dan is not wrong. Those of us living in North Cornwall/Devon seriously need some rail infrastructure – and soon. While he’s at it, perhaps Dan might also look into rail fares to and from the SW. It is a longstanding gripe that not only are theren o trains here but none of the major operators seem to offer inter-city deals from the likes of Exeter. We pay the full amount, which does sometimes feel like the SW is not only marginalised in terms of rail travel, but also subsidising cheaper fares elsewhere.