Council Leader calls on government as rail service fails again

Councillor Tudor Evans, Leader of Plymouth City Council

Councillor Tudor Evans, Leader of Plymouth City Council

Council Leader Tudor Evans has called upon the government to get a grip in the light of yet more weather disruption to the Cross Country service to get a service which is resilient and reliable.

“Yet again we are seeing rail services cancelled because of severe weather affecting the line at Dawlish, “said Council Leader Tudor Evans. “ For those using services provided by Cross Country this is the fourth day of disruption this month. It is only the 9 November and we are not yet properly into winter.”

A letter has been sent to Chris Grayling Secretary of State emphasising the need for urgent action to address the continued failure of the Cross Country franchise to provide reliable, resilient rail services with faster journey times and which has the capacity to accommodate passenger growth in comfort.

Plymouth City Council responded to Secretary of State Chris Grayling’s original consultation on the Cross Country franchise before this was halted in the light of the wider Rail Review now commissioned. However there is deep concern that this means the urgently needed improvements to the Cross Country service will not now be delivered before the middle or end of the next decade.

Cllr Evans continued: “The Cross Country network provides services that are important in supporting our economy by linking Plymouth with seven of the ten major cities across the country. Our response to the consultation highlighted the importance of maintaining and developing the connectivity that the Cross Country network provides throughout the South West peninsula to both national and international markets, which provide opportunities to benefit from economic growth.”

“It’s quite frankly ridiculous that in this day and age that the Cross Country trains have to be stopped every time there is any danger of the waves overtopping the sea wall at Dawlish. We need new trains which are resilient and reliable on this network, we need to cut journey times and provide enough capacity to provide a comfortable experience. I’m really concerned that the delays to awarding this franchise are only going to exacerbate the problems on this wholly inadequate service.”