Luke Pollard

Labour & Co-operative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport

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Luke Pollard MP calls for greater clarity for pupils as Plymouth Studio School set to close

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Today Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport has written to the Secretary of State for Transport to raise concerns following frequent cancellations to CrossCountry services due to poor weather.

In his letter, Luke Pollard says it is unacceptable that the current stock of CrossCounry trains are unfit to withstand all year round weather conditions at Dawlish and Teignmouth. The engines on these trains has been known to short circuit when they are hit by the saltwater coming off the waves and sea spray. CrossCountry now starts and ends trains at Exeter when there is bad weather to prevent the Dawlish line being blocked by broken down CrossCountry trains.

The CrossCountry train franchise is shortly to be re-let and the Plymouth MP has asked the Secretary of State to require future franchises to buy new trains with the ability to cope with poor weather. Current rolling stock lacks the capacity required to carry passenger demand and have a key fault that means they are unable to pass through Dawlish when the waves crash over the track at Dawlish and Teignmouth.

The letter also asked whether the current CrossCountry franchise holder Arriva are breaching provisions by failing to provide services to Plymouth and Cornwall due to the frequent service cuts due to bad weather.

Luke said:

“Plymouth’s rail service was hit yet again this week as CrossCountry cancelled trains to the far south west due to waves hitting the track at Dawlish and Teignmouth. Plymouth is served by two train operators, GWR and CrossCountry and we need both fully operational to support our local economy.

“The cancellation of trains due to bad weather is growing increasingly unacceptable. We need urgent action from Ministers to ensure that these trains are replaced with new rolling stock that can survive weather all year round. It is embarrassing and damaging for our region that decades old Great Western Rail trains can get through Dawlish and the newer Cross-Country trains cannot in bad weather.”

In March earlier this year, Luke Pollard MP criticised the Government’s South West Rail Strategy, calling it a sham that failed to provide any new funding. There was no new money announced for railway upgrades in the far south west in the strategy Luke branded a “sham” and local Tory MPs called “disappointing”. Labour has committed £2.5bn to upgrade and enhance the south west’s train line over the next ten years, following all recommendations proposed by the Peninsula Rail Task Force report.

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Luke Pollard MP writes to Ministers raising concerns after CrossCountry cancel trains to Plymouth due to bad weather yet again

Today Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport has written to the Secretary of State for Transport to raise concerns following frequent cancellations to CrossCountry services due to poor...

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The Labour Party today announces its support for a detailed study into proposals to extend the M5 motorway from Exeter to Plymouth following representations made by business and local political figures.

The next Labour Government would commission a study that would look at the A38 from Exeter to Plymouth, what work is required to upgrade the road to motorway standard, what parts could be reclassified as a motorway without additional work and what the approximate cost of this work could be and how that work could be spread over the long-term, including what planned upgrades are in the pipeline, to mitigate costs. The study would then provide an evidence base for future investment decisions to be made against. The next Labour Government would commission the Highways Agency to lead this work and take input from local businesses, stakeholders, Local Enterprise Partnerships, councils and members of the public.

Andy McDonald, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary said:

“I heard the calls for the motorway to be extended for myself on my recent visit to Plymouth. It is vital for the success of the south west economy that the single road and rail route into the region is enhanced. While Labour is cautious about adding extra road schemes without a clear business case I believe there is a clear case to looking at how the A38 could be upgraded to motorway standard. A Labour Government would commission a study into how the A38 could be upgraded and what work would be required to do so.”

Luke Pollard, the Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport said:

“The far south west has had a poor deal in terms of transport funding for far too long. As well as committing £2.5bn to upgrade our railway, Labour’s road study announcement means we will be able to develop a long-term vision for the upgrade of the A38.

"Extending the M5 to Plymouth is not only backed by Plymouth City Council, it is backed by local businesses and all those who want to see investment brought into Devon and Cornwall. The study into the extension of the M5 will look at the long-term investment needed to reclassify and upgrade the A38. The M5 extension won’t happen overnight but starting with a firm evidence base and a detailed study of what work is required is a very good start."

"When it comes to road and rail it is clear that Labour is the only party championing the far south west.”

Charlotte Holloway, the Labour and Co-operative Parliamentary Candidate for Plymouth Moor View added:

“Businesses in Plymouth need to have certainty in the A38 being open and safe. In recent years we have seen the A38 close far too often because of accidents and poor design. Upgrade work will happen on the A38 and Labour’s request is that all new work is undertaken to a motorway not just an A road standard helping prepare the way for the M5 extension.”

Labour backs study into extending the M5 to Plymouth

The Labour Party today announces its support for a detailed study into proposals to extend the M5 motorway from Exeter to Plymouth following representations made by business and local political...


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