Thursday, 3 July 2014

Massive rail investment in Cornwall

Today's news of massive rail investment is hugely good for Cornwall. We will see the moving of maintenance work from London to Penzance with the creation of 60 highly skilled jobs. The sleeper service is being upgraded and extended. And the signalling is being modernised which will create huge extra capacity on the line.

It all adds up to more than £140 million of investment and has been made possible by the work of Cornwall Council.

The money is coming from a range of sources - Network Rail, the train operator First, the Government, Local Enterprise Partnership and Cornwall Council.

It means three key things:

  • Cornwall's strategic infrastructure is being enhanced. The sleeper is a popular way of doing business in London (about as much as the air links are) and it has been under threat a number of times. This investment guarantees its future.
  • The upgraded signalling will allow for much more regular train services between Penzance and Plymouth (and beyond). If you have a half hourly service in each direction then you can integrate other public transport services with trains. So rather than catch a bus the length of Cornwall, you can timetable the buses to meet trains and the journey becomes faster and cheaper.
  • Cornwall is not being forgotten in Whitehall. Key to this announcement was the agreement of the government to give us some money and to give permission to various changes to some of the normal rules. Cornwall Council made the case very positively and the Government has listened. 

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