The MP for the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives, Andrew George, is urging local people to make their views known and to support the campaign to retain essential intercity and sleeper service to Penzance.
Views are required by the end of next month – 31st March – in response to the tender consultation for the Great Western franchise. Decisions must be made during 2012, with the new franchise to begin in April 2013 and to run for a period of 15 years.
Mr George said, “Five years ago we successfully campaigned to retain the Penzance sleeper service. The six nights a week service is often full and oversubscribed. It should be retained and enhanced, extending it to seven nights a week, upping the carriages and increasing the patronage on the service.
“I said to Transport Ministers last time: they can either offer us a £multibillion fast speed upgrade like the north of England and Scotland now take for granted, or they can guarantee a round the clock rail service including a sleeper to meet the needs of our communities and our economy. They cannot deny us both!
“With regard to daytime services between Penzance and Paddington, what local people want more than anything else is reliability, comfort and competitive pricing. Suggestions that we should concentrate only on shaving 15 to 30 minutes off the service time between Paddington and Plymouth is not as important. Whether you sit on a train for 4½, 5 or 5½ hours is relatively immaterial when you contrast it with the importance of punctuality, reliability, comfort and competitive pricing. I hope local people will get behind the campaign to support and enhance rail services to Penzance.”
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