Luke Pollard

Labour & Co-operative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport

No plan for rail link

I'm becoming increasingly concerned that the Government has no plans to help the south west by protecting our rail link. We not only need a new fast and resilient rail line we need our current rail line reinforced and protected so the south west stays open for business on sunny days and stormy days.

Today the Transport Secretary will make a major announcement about the future of Network Rail. Privatising Network Rail might be a priority for him as a Tory but the priority for us in the south west is getting a train line that works. Unless he announces plans for funding a new train line he will be failing us, yet again.

Back in the Westcountry, network Rail have been holding public exhibitions looking at options to protect our current train line. One of them involves closing the track for 12 months! We need a working trainline and we need an additional fast and resilient line. We don't need delays due to public exhibitions - we need the Government to give Network Rail the green light to get on and protect our train line while in parallel planning a new route.

I have proposed it before but I'll say it again, with the Government having such a small and decreasing majority in the House of Commons if all the Tory MPs in the far south west formed a voting block to refuse to support the Government in votes until we get the funding we need to re-open our airport and build a new train line we would have the funding in place in no time. Short of this, all their protestations and celebrations at yet another press release from the DfT promising much but delivering little is simple spin.

Plymouth deserves better than our current train line and we deserve our case to be taken seriously by Ministers.

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