Statement from Council Leader Tudor Evans: on funding announcement for a new study into improvements to the railways between London and the South West.
“I would personally like to thank Great Western Railway for stepping in to fund this study that we so badly need to look at line speed improvements in the South West.
“While the news that the study can go ahead is great, it is quite incredible that the Government has not actually put its hands in its pockets to pay for any of this. It is staggering that all that talk from Mr Cameron two years ago – was just that – talk.
“We have had to make a monumental fuss to get him to deliver this much – and even then he has passed the bill to someone else.
“I’d like to remind people that local authorities which form the Peninsula Rail Task Force have so far put around £500,000 into studies, capacity and resources for rail investment. Other regions, such as West Midlands, with an arguably less urgent case for investment, have received £5m funds to develop its transport strategy.
“We cannot keep being last on the list on the Government’s connectivity agenda.”
The study, which will be carried out by Network Rail and funded and commissioned by GWR, will look at what more can be done to existing track, signalling and other railway infrastructure to improve line speed and ensure the full benefits of the new trains coming onto the network are realised.
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.