Call for fair share of rail investment


Cornish MPs are calling on Government Ministers to ensure that the Paddington to Penzance rail link receives a fair share of the £14 billion of future rail investment, following a recent announcement on high speed rail links.

The MP for West Cornwall, Andrew George, and the St Austell and Newquay MP, Stephen Gilbert, met Rail Minister, Theresa Villiers MP, in the Department for Transport yesterday evening to impress upon her the importance of the future of the Paddington-Penzance link.

Whilst the Penzance link will not receive the benefit of future investment in electrification, they were reassured that, although electrification will probably be extended as far as Newbury on that route, Cornwall will still enjoy an uninterrupted through service from London to Penzance.

However, the MPs emphasised the importance of the service securing its fair share of future investment.

George said: “Shaving 15-20 minutes off a 5½ hour service is neither here nor there. What rail customers want and deserve is greater comfort and reliability. Passengers are crammed into many of the trains like sardines without adequate room for luggage in conditions which I believe are intolerable for long-distance travel.

“If the Government are investing in 650 new carriages for the future UK network, then our passengers deserve their share of that investment.

“We will continue to press the Minister and will urge First Great Western to make the case for a real and meaningful improvement in the comfort and reliability of future rail services to the West.”