Latest Rail News

09.02.16

GWR to fund south west rail studies

Funding for two rail studies needed to complete the west country’s bid for further investment will be provided by Great Western Rail (GWR), it has finally been confirmed by rail minister Claire Perry.

The Network Rail feasibility studies will focus on improving journey speeds and the impact of electrification in the region. The work will inform a report which the Peninsula Rail Task Force is providing to the government this summer, and the consideration of future funding for the railway and franchises on the route. 

Perry said: “I was determined to find a funding solution for this study to look at line speed improvements and I am delighted that GWR have provided the backing.

“We are absolutely committed to improving the resilience of the South West’s rail network, with more than £70m invested in this route so far and routine maintenance continuing to strengthen the line further.”

The announcement comes after a Commons debate on the Great Western yesterday, in which MPs urged the government to do more to improve the network in the region.

Labour MP for Middlesbrough, Andy McDonald, said: “The Great Western railway is more than just a transport system; it is vital to the areas that it serves, which is why it is so important that the government deliver on their promises on electrification and improved resilience as a matter of urgency.”

In October last year, the Peninsula Rail Task Force published an interim report on improving the south west’s rail network, which recommended improving the network’s resilience, journey times and capacity.

Mark Langman, Network Rail’s managing director for the western route, said the funding of this study is welcome news for all rail passengers in Devon and Cornwall. 

“We know how important rail services are to the region and how passengers rely on the links both within the region and onwards to London and other major cities,” he said. “We can now get this study underway and will work closely with GWR to enable a start as soon as possible.”

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