Lib Dem MP Dan Rogerson has launched a petition urging Network Rail to look at re-introducing railway services to North Cornwall.
Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin has asked Network Rail to produce a report looking at additional lines to and from Devon and Cornwall following the collapse of the sea wall at Dawlish last week. Network Rail have said that their preferred route would be the former line from Exeter to Plymouth via Okehampton and Tavistock.
North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson has campaigned to re-introduce more services to and from Okehampton and welcomed Network Rail’s decision to look at re-opening the Exeter-Okehampton-Tavistock-Plymouth railway line.
Dan Rogerson said:
“I have long campaigned to re-introduce more services to and from Okehampton to bring the railways closer to the Launceston and Bude areas. I called a debate on this topic in the House of Commons last summer – at the time Transport Ministers were keen to explore the options, but the incident at Dawlish has speeded the process up.
It is good news that Network Rail are going to bring forward proposals to re-open the railway line between Exeter, Okehampton, Tavistock and Plymouth. It is important that work to re-open the line happens as quickly as possible so that people in our area can see the benefits.”
At the same time as the work to bring trains back to Okehampton and Tavistock, Dan Rogerson wants Network Rail to explore options for connecting and extending the line into Cornwall. For those people in Bude and beyond, this is the important bit because Okehampton is still one hell of a trek! So, get that petition signed, people!! I’m kind of incredulous that anyone thinks the Dawlish line had any great relevance to those of us in the North East Cornwall railway desert area in the first place. Rail travel for the north of the duchy should have been raised years ago. But at least Dan is now on the case.
“Connecting the Exeter, Okehampton & Tavistock line to Cornwall would offer more options for people travelling to, from and around the Duchy and would be a boost to residents, businesses and the economy in Cornish communities that are not currently served by rail services.
“It would also improve the resilience of the rail network. As we have seen at Dawlish, a problem at one part of the line can cut Cornwall off from England. Extending the Okehampton & Tavistock line into north and east Cornwall would provide another railway line across the Tamar to help keep Cornwall connected in the event of any problems along the existing main line.
“I have launched my petition today at www.campaigns.libdems.org.uk/NorthCornwallRailways<http://www.campaigns.libdems.org.uk/NorthCornwallRailways> and would urge anyone who supports the plans to help me show Network Rail the strength of support from local people for bringing back railway services to North Cornwall.”