Latest Rail News

24.11.16

Taskforce calls for funding boost to bolster peninsular services

The Peninsula Rail Task Force has used its final report to call for extensive investment to boost the resilience of the south west rail network.

The south west suffers a deficit of transport investment compared to the rest of the country totalling £2bn over the past 20 years. Currently, less than 50% of trains in the region arrive on time.

The region is also predicted to suffer increased flooding linked to climate change, which could cause the rail line at Dawlish to close every four years by 2065.

Extreme weather-related disruptions at Dawlish and the Somerset Levels have cost £1.2bn, and there have been 36 days of disruption since the line reopened in 2015.

Cllr Andrew Leadbetter of Exeter city council, who chairs the taskforce, said: “Our message to government is plain: there must be real enhancements to our rail network, improving existing provision.

“Reduced services, loss of connections and slower trains are unacceptable. Whilst our rail network cannot be transformed overnight, we must tackle the decades of underinvestment, we must start now and we must hold true to that course in the years to come.”

The report, ‘Closing the Gap’ – The South West Peninsula strategic rail blueprint, which was published this week after its publication date was postponed from July, called for £284m resilience investment to be delivered by 2019, including securing the main rail line through Dawlish and Teignmouth.

Its other immediate priorities were procuring CrossCountry rolling stock that is capable of operating along sea walls in all weathers, and completing flood resilience works at Cowley Bridge, Somerset Levels, and Hele & Bradninch.

In addition, the report set ambitious targets for reduced journey times, with trains travelling to London in 90 minutes from Taunton, 105 minutes from Exeter, 135 minutes from Plymouth and Paignton, and 210 minutes from Truro.

To deliver this, it recommended requiring the new South Western franchise operator to introduce an extra two trains an hour from Plymouth to London by 2019.

The DfT has also indicated its support for reduced South Western journey times in the franchise ITT.

Other immediate recommended investments from the taskforce include £2.5m for GRIP 3 options for the diversionary route east of Exeter, £22m for GRIP 3 options for reducing journey times and investing £25m for on-board wi-fi and phone connectivity.

This was followed by a programme of recommendations for 2019-24, including:

  • Investing £301m to complete Dawlish seawall and cliffs resilience, the diversionary route between Exeter and Castle Cary and estuary flood protection
  • Investing £1.5bn in infrastructure improvements, partial electrification and franchise renewals to reduce journey times to Penzance by up to 14 minutes
  • Investing £150m in reducing journey times and increasing core capacity on the Exeter –Waterloo line

Last week, the Department for Transport announced £10m resilience funding for the railway between Exeter and Newton Abbot.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

Rail industry Focus

  • 15/11/2019A workforce which reflects society

    Loraine Martins MBE, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Network Rail, joins us in the studio for the third episode of our RTM podcast, talking at length about her role and how it came about...
  • 02/11/2019Monica Barbosa: Women In Rail

    Director of business development and communications at Xrail, Monica Barbosa, thinks women are missing out on exciting opportunities because the lack of gender diversity in the rail industry.
View all News

Comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

'the sleepers' blog

Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

14/11/2019Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

Rail Technology Magazine’s Matt Roberts explains the significant role data can play within the future development of the rail industry. Standing as a cornerstone of the UK transport network, the rail industry is forever striving to in... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

Interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

24/06/2019Malcolm Holmes, executive director of West Midlands Rail Executive, announced as TCR Midlands speaker in Birmingham

Ahead of his appearance, Malcolm Holmes spoke with Rail Technology Magazine about what key leaders in the industry were doing to improve rail in the Midlands. He said: “It’s very... more >