Rail Minister, Rt. Hon Theresa Villiers MP, has confirmed that her Department are looking at the possibility of cutting three of the nine through trains between London and Penzance to provide alternative “high quality connection services” when an invitation to tender for the 15 year Great Western Franchise is opened before the end of this week.
Local MPs, Andrew George, George Eustice and Dan Rogerson, outlined the reasons for their opposition to the Government’s proposal and urged an eleventh hour re-think and to build a service with a nine train through service as its base line.
Mr George said: “I hope that the Minister will demonstrate that she has listened to the voice not only of the local MPs, but of the whole business community and the many constituents who are now up in arms about the suggested reductions.
“We explained that whilst planned replacements of high speed trains with local services may appear attractive on paper, such a decision would be disastrous for Cornwall’s image, economy and tourist spend. Business customers having to transfer at Plymouth to smaller and more crowded trains where they may end up with their luggage on their laps for two hours is hardly going to impress them.
“The impact on families and tourists with heavy luggage, worrying about meeting a connection, the disruption and the concern about finding a seat will discourage them from using the service at all.
“The Minister indicated that she had not made up her mind on the issue and that a final decision will be announced in the coming days. We must keep up the pressure.”
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