Through Trains To Penzance – Essential says Andrew George MP

Posted on: 17th May 2011

Andrew George MPThe MP for the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives, Andrew George, will insist that any future negotiation of the Great Western franchise should at least guarantee the existing through train timetable of services between Paddington and Penzance as the absolute bare minimum. The service should never be permitted to fall below that basic service under the new contract, Mr George has told Ministers and the First Group operators.

Mr George had already raised his concerns about the future of the franchise with Transport Ministers and has been in dialogue with the First Great Western Manager, Mark Hopwood, regarding the future of this service.

Mr George is concerned that any attempt to concentrate solely on services to Plymouth and Exeter will leave Cornish rail users as poor relations.

Mr George said, “Cornish rail users know that we are never going to get a super fast service between Penzance and Paddington during the period of the forthcoming renegotiated franchise. However, what Cornish rail commuters do deserve is a good range of services, reliability, comfort and competitive ticket pricing. Many trains are overcrowded and new carriage design has left long distance commuters with very cramped conditions and insufficient luggage capacity. Many have to pay through the nose.

“I will be urging Ministers to ensure that any renegotiation of the franchise would result in improvements and extensions to through services rather than a concentration of the franchise upon what Plymouth and Exeter commuters consider to be their ‘core’ service at the expense of Cornish rail users. Attempting to shave 15 or 20 minutes off the length of journeys is a much owed priority to Cornish intercity committed than retaining a good range of services, reliability, comfort and competitive pricing.”