- Luke Pollard welcomes announcement of £80m for immediate work on train line at Dawlish
- “Campaign not over” says Luke Pollard MP as final phase remains unfunded
- In 2017, Labour committed £2.5 billion to upgrade the south west’s transport links.
Today the MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, Luke Pollard has welcomed the £80 million announcement from the Transport Secretary for immediate repairs at Dawlish, but says he will keep campaigning for the full amount of money needed to secure long term resilience.
The money announced by the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling today will deliver a new sea wall at Dawlish, providing better protection for the railway. The Labour MP is concerned that the £80million of funding only provides for work the sea walls and does not fund the urgent work to stabilise the cliffs along the line at Teignmouth. The Government commitment also does not match the amount needed to fulfil the recommendations of the Peninsula Rail Task Force (PRTF), the group set up by Conservative Councils in the wake of 2014 storms at Dawlish, to improve long term resilience, more capacity and faster journey times.
The south west lost £1bn when the trainline at Dawlish was washed away in 2014. Despite promises by the then Prime Minister David Cameron that “money is no object” Luke Pollard MP has been critical that the region has had to wait five years for today’s announcement from Ministers.
Two years ago in 2017, Labour committed £2.5 billion to upgrade the south west’s transport links to fund all the PRTF recommendations.
Commenting on the announcement to give Dawlish £80m for resilience work, Luke Pollard MP said:
“It’s taken five years to get Ministers to announce the cash for only two thirds of the upgrades we need at Dawlish. The final phase to steady the cliffs remains unfunded.
It should not have taken years to get only £80m when Ministers are spending billions on new tube lines for London and HS2 for the Midlands and the North.
Labour has pledged £2.5bn to upgrade our trainline. But with a region stuffed full of Tory MPs why has it taken five years to not even get the full funding that we need from this government? It’s time we got our fair share of funding to make our trainline genuinely faster and more resilient.”
The Labour MP Luke Pollard has been campaigning for upgrades to improve resilience and journey times on the one and only trainline in the region since before he was elected and has led a number of debates in Parliament.
Last March, he criticised the long-awaited SW Rail Strategy that was published without any new money for our region’s railway. This month he called out the Prime Minister two times on this lack of action asking for funding in the House of Commons at Prime Minister’s Questions.
In November 2018, 30% of CrossCountry trains to Plymouth terminated early at Exeter because the Voyager trains could not get through Dawlish in bad weather – adding to the impression that the region is cut off in times of bad weather.