The Government has decided to do yet another study into a train line in the south west. We have studies coming out of our ears - what we need is action. The full announcement is due out tomorrow in the Government's Autumn Statement but here's my reaction to the news that the Government won't be supporting the package of measures the south west was asking for to improve our train line.
This looks like a slap in the face for Plymouth and the far south west.
If the government only backs a route via Okehmapton rather than the package of measures that would see plans for electrification and faster trains introduced it would be very disappointing. Another study into an Okehmapton route is not what the business community in the south west wanted and asked for. Meanwhile other parts of the country seem to finding more favour from Ministers and yet agains the south west loses out.
Building just a train line to Okehampton does nothing for Plymouth. In no way can a slow line to Okehampton be be the solution to Plymouth's rail problems. It will not provide Plymouth and the wider south west with the fast and resilient rail service we so desperately need.
The south west was asked by Government to present a solid, sound and united bid for the better train service and businesses, councils and MPs agreed a plan that would create the rail services we need. If the Government fails to announce what we need tomorrow it will truly be a slap in the face for our city. The south west has done everything we have been asked to do and we will have been ignored by Ministers.
Let me know what you think about this latest delay in the south west getting the train line we so desperately need.
Autumn Statement Comment
New rail connections, new roads, investment in housing and flood defences all seem to be given to other cities but not Plymouth. The South West was united behind a package of sensible proposals to create a fast and resilient railway and Ministers in Westminster have ignored us. Plymouth deserves better than this.
The sensible package put forward by the region could have created growth worth £1bn a year for our economy. A more resilient and faster rail connection would bring jobs and growth to our region. We are not back to square one though. This snub should not and must not deter us from continuing to make the case for the investment we so desperately need.