Mind the Gap – call for crucial funding for rail report
The Peninsula Rail Task Force (PRTF) is calling on the Transport Minister to step in and provide crucial funding for two network rail studies that will form part of the evidence for investment into the South West rail network.
Chair of the PRTF, Cllr Andrew Leadbetter said:
“When we were invited by the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State to put forward our plans for the South West rail network, we were pleased that our issues of poor connectivity were finally being recognised.
“We have been determined to put forward a sound business case. We know we’re up against a lot of competition and we know we have to show real economic returns. The West Midlands has recently had £5m of funds to develop its transport strategy whereas to date, all our work has been funded through the local authorities. There is a clear inequality here.
“The two studies are vital to our report, which is due this summer. There is a very small window of opportunity to get them done in time and to date Network Rail has no funding for them. So, we are asking the Secretary of State to intervene and ensure his departments are able to deliver, as we are doing. It’s surely reasonable to expect that we have the tools we need to do what he has asked of us?“
The two studies look at how faster journey time could be achieved and the impacts of electrification. The South West is the only region not to have any electrification plans at all.
Cllr Leadbetter added: “We have had many warm words about the importance of connectivity and how it has the power to transform the economy.
“There is a huge irony in that we are expecting new rolling stock in 2017, but we will not be able to benefit to the fullest with shorter journey times because this work has not been done. It seems as if the Government is determined to leave the South West till last on the connectivity agenda and that is simply unacceptable.“
More details about the work of the PRTF can be found on www.peninsularailtaskforce.co.uk
You can also find more information at: www.peninsularailtaskforce.co.uk or by contacting Coast Communications on 01579 352 600 or firstname.lastname@example.org