Plymouth: Fast And Reliable Rail Network Needed

18 February 2014, 09:53 | Updated: 18 February 2014, 10:08

Dawlish flooding

A fast and resilient 21st Century rail network for Devon and Cornwall must be a priority.

We are being asked to write to our MPs to send a clear message to Westminster. 

In a 'Motion to Council' on 24 February, Plymouth Councillor Tudor Evans is asking Full Council to back calls to the Prime Minister to get on with the study into additional rail routes to serve the South West Peninsula.

The motion, which is being seconded by Councillor Ian Bowyer, shadow leader for Plymouth City Council, recognises the inadequacies of the South West peninsula rail network highlighted by the recent extreme weather 

The network is not fit for purpose for Plymouth as the 15th largest city in England with an ambitious growth agenda, the motion notes and calls for more commitment from the Government to act on the outcome of the rail study they have already promised and to deliver an additional route (known as the Dawlish Avoiding Line or GW2) to serve Plymouth, Torbay and Cornwall, west of Exeter. 

This Council resolves to: 

  • Call on the Prime Minister to expedite the study into the delivery of a fast and resilient rail connection to the south west and Plymouth and for this to be completed and published before the end of 2014. 
  • Call on the Prime Minster to instruct the Department of Transport to immediately put Plymouth on the Department for Transport Strategic National Corridor. 
  • Call on all residents across the peninsula to write to their MP to get them to support the provision of fast and reliable trains to the south west and attend for them to attend the parliamentary meeting of the Rail Resilience Task Group on 25 February 2014. 
  • Call on the Department for Transport to work with Network Rail, train operators, local authorities and the LEPs on a package of infrastructure improvements and options for increasing rolling stock capacity for the medium term. 
  • Call on the Department of Transport to make a firm commitment to complete feasibility and groundwork with a commitment to extending a rolling programme of electrification from 2020 that serves the entire South West Peninsula. 

It's as new photos taken by the Devon & Cornwall police force helicopter show how work is progressing on the line. 

Network Rail say more bad weather means the line will take 6-8 weeks to prepare and is likely to go past the March 18th deadline.