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Rail Link Re-Opening Early

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3:52pm 4th March 2014

Cornwall's main rail link to London will re-open in time for Easter.

The Truro and Falmouth MP says she has had confirmation from Network Rail over storm repairs at Dawlish.

Sarah Newton says bosses are also promising to put out the message - Cornwall's Open for Business.

Network Rail said it is acutely aware of the value of the railway to the economy of the south west of England and emphasised it has been working closely with local authorities, business groups and transport providers in and around Dawlish to ensure that disruption is minimised.

Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin said: "I saw for myself the scale of the damage to the line at Dawlish caused by the recent exceptionally bad weather. Today's confirmation that the line should now be back in operation before the Easter holidays will be a real boost for local communities and businesses. I know that Network Rail staff have been working tirelessly to get the line up and running as soon as possible. I would like to thank everyone for their hard work so far."

Patrick Hallgate, Network Rail's Western route managing director, said: "We are determined to complete this work in time for the school holidays to support the vital tourism trade in Dawlish, South Devon and across the south west of England. An unfortunate event like the one experienced at Dawlish shows how important the railway is to the region's people and its economy and I hope our efforts to restore here show how seriously we treat that responsibility.

"Even when Dawlish is complete, a great deal of work remains elsewhere. First we will bring the railway back to full capacity, then we will create solutions that will protect this vital national asset for the future. We are tackling that process head-on."

Mark Carne, Network Rail chief executive, said: "This is just one example of the extraordinary efforts by the railway industry to restore services after the unprecedented floods and storms of this winter that affected many passengers up and down the country. For now, let me express the railway industry's gratitude for the support and understanding shown by passengers and the country as a whole."

Mark Hopwood, First Great Western managing director, said: "First Great Western welcomes Network Rail's commitment to reopen the line through Dawlish ahead of their mid-April estimate. This is good news for the South West and for our passengers, allowing us to restore through train services linking London and Exeter with Torbay, Plymouth and Cornwall. Until the line reopens we continue to run train services between Exeter and London and between Newton Abbot and Penzance with bus services linking these to keep our passengers moving, and will do everything we can to minimise disruption to our customers' journeys."

3:52pm 4th March 2014

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