Transport Minister Baroness Kramer visited the south-west this week (on 5 September 2014) to see how 2 rail improvement schemes will transform journeys for thousands of passengers.
The minister’s first stop was to officially open the £13 million multi-storey car park at Bristol Parkway station. Thanks to government funding, the car park is providing an extra 710 parking spaces, in addition to the 1,100 already there.
Baroness Kramer then travelled to Newcourt, near Exeter, to cut the first turf on the £1.5 million new station planned for the site. The project is one of 5 to be awarded funding by the government, following a successful bid by Devon County Council in May 2013.
The new station, which will include a ticket machine, passenger information system, secure cycle parking, disabled parking spaces and CCTV, will be served by a half-hourly local service between Exeter St David’s and Exmouth.
Baroness Kramer said:
A modern railway station with excellent customer facilities can speak volumes about a local community. The new facilities at Bristol and the new station at Newcourt will help transform the experience of passengers and provide a boost to local economies.
We have big ambitions for our railways, which is why we have embarked on the biggest programme of modernisation since the Victorian era, with more than £38 billion being spent over the next 5 years to provide better journeys for millions of passengers.
For the work at Newcourt, Devon County Council received £741,000 government funding. Once completed later this year, it will serve a new housing development and ease congestion on the local road network.
Both projects are being supported by First Great Western and Network Rail.
Local authorities in the south-west have been given more than £900 million to spend on local transport during this parliament, with £130 million being spent on improving the region’s roads this year.
From what I’m seeing, there is little news of rail improvements for Cornwall, and little sign of the road improvements mentioned impacting upon us, either. The North Devon link road remains dangerous and often slow, along with the A39, and there is still no real promise of any rail service for North Cornwall/Devon beyond Barnstaple. I shan’t get too excited but great news for Bristol, Exeter and Exmouth.