The Government has just announced a massive investment in the countries rail network to the tune of £9 billion. You would think this would be good news, but for Cornwall it might not be.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has told Cornwall Council that it plans to cut the three of the nine direct services to and from London. The DfT has included these reductions in the Invitation to Tenders, which Great Western Rail Franchise is part of. This is a bitter blow to the council who have invested over £35m in the local rail network over the last decade.
Cornwall Council understands the importance of the rail network in Cornwall to both business and leisure. It showed this commitment by helping to meet the cost of upgrading the signalling, station improvements, and other infrastructure improvements. The council has been rewarded for this investment by a reduction to the service.
The council lobbied for a 30 minute mainline service in Cornwall. Sadly this has in reality been turned down as the DfT has said this would be up to the operator and would place no obligation on the operator to do this.
It is not all bad news, as the Truro to Falmouth service will become part of the deal. This is because the service is now financially viable. This means Cornwall Council does not have to subsidise the service anymore. This also means it does not get a share of the profits either!
Let’s hope the serious lobbying to safeguard the current service to MP’s, Member of the House of Lords and other key people by Cornwall Council pay’s off. As if not, the council has given a warning to the DfT it will campaign on all levels to make sure the current service continues.
But will the DfT listen? Answers on a postcard