Rail decision delay may be good news
West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, has welcomed news that the tendering process for the contract to provide the Penzance to Paddington rail service has been delayed following his Parliamentary Question to the Transport Secretary, the Rt Hon Justine Greening MP and meetings with the Rail Minister, the Rt Hon Theresa Villiers MP, last week.
Commenting on the news of further delays Mr George said that it might be a sign that Ministers are listening to the concerns of local people who are concerned at proposals to cut the through service from Penzance to the capital from 9 to 6 trains per day. Whilst services would not necessarily be cut by that amount the proposals would mean that companies bidding for the contract could put together packages which included a significantly reduced service.
Following his question the Secretary of State Mr George, along with fellow Cornish MPs, met with the Rail Minister to outline their concerns and urge the Government to revise its thinking and ensure that a nine train through service was central to the basic contract. After the meeting Mr George noted that the Minister had said a final decision had not yet been made.
Mr George said: “We explained that whilst planned replacements of high speed trains with local services may appear attractive on paper, such a decision would be disastrous for Cornwall’s image, economy, and tourist industry.
“The delay to the final decision is good news. Hopefully it means that Ministers have listened to the concerns of local people and will not go through with the proposed reductions which would relegate Cornwall to the status of a branch line at a time when the local economy needs more support from Government”
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