Plymouth is standing up for the far South West in the city’s formal consultation to the Cross Country franchise.
The Council is submitting its response to the Department for Transport today and it sends a clear signal that any suggestion of withdrawing Cross Country services from areas currently served including Plymouth to Penzance should be rejected.
Council leader Tudor Evans said: “We have put together a full and frank response – to put it bluntly, we are asking for better trains, trains that run in stormy weather so that the services can go past Dawlish and into the rest of Devon and Cornwall without worrying about conditions.
“We are a thriving city with over 200,000 residents, many of whom have to deal with already unreliable trains daily. We should aim higher, not take steps back to 1980s.”
The response echoes the Cabinet’s recommendation which calls for the existing number of trains and services to Penzance and Paignton to be at least maintained, trains that are reliable and resilient to wave overtopping along the sea wall at Dawlish and better national connectivity through faster journey times with sufficient capacity to meet forecast passenger growth.
The response also highlights that Cross Country ending direct rail services at Plymouth would mean that people who come to the city for work, education and leisure would no longer be able to rely on these services.
It also argues that curtailing train services beyond Plymouth into Cornwall would erode the connectivity of Plymouth and the South West contradicting the specifications of the existing Cross Country franchise.
Plymouth City Council is part of the Peninsula Rail Task Force, which set out its priorities in its 20 Year Plan submitted to the Department for Transport in November 2016. It called for
- A railway that is resilient and reliable
- With faster journey times with better national connectivity
- And which has sufficient capacity and comfort for passengers