The MP for the West Cornwall and Isles of Scilly constituency of St Ives, Andrew George, has urged his constituents and campaigners not to “rest on their laurels” following the very welcome news that the rail line between Penzance in his constituency and London Paddington has now finally been restored.
He congratulated and thanked all concerned on working round the clock to complete the engineering works necessary to restore the line at Dawlish.
However, Mr George has already gathered thousands of signatures on a petition which he launched in February calling for the investment necessary to ensure a resilient rail service from Penzance to Paddington.
Mr George said: “Today is a day for celebration; and to thank all of those involved in the work to restore this vital stretch of rail line.
“MPs across all parties, in Cornwall and the South West, had already voted not to deny communities on the London North corridor the investment necessary for HS2 to get underway. It is therefore not too much to ask that the Government gives us a fraction of that investment to provide the resilient and reliable rail service from Penzance to Paddington.
“It is important that we maintain a strong case for resilience, reliability, punctuality, passenger comfort and competitive ticket pricing. Those who argue that we should be putting investment into cutting 15 minutes or so off the journey time to Paddington can make their case, if they want to. But whether the scheduled journey time is five hours or five and a quarter hours makes little difference to the traveller.
“The most important factors are reliability, punctuality, passenger comfort and a competitive ticket price. I hope that those who are pressing for a faster journey time recognise that, desirable as it is, it is a lower priority.”
Mr George will be presenting his petition to Parliament after Easter.