Pirate FM News

Cornwall and Devon Losing Millions Because of Rail Damage

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Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 7:00am 19th February 2014 (Updated 7:33am 20th February 2014)

Pirate FM has learnt that damage to the railway network is costing the Cornwall and Devon economies up to 20 million pounds a day.

The storm battered line is still dangling above the sea at Dawlish and Network Rail now says it will be mid-April before the line can re-open.

The stretch between St Erth and Penzance and the Looe branch line are both shut too.

Cheryl Bullion is a trainee clinical psychologist and has had to cancel appointments: "I actually live in Plymouth so I travel to Cornwall four days a week so it's been really difficult to be able to see all of my patients and I've had to cancel some of them because of train disruptions."

The Devon and Cornwall Business Council, which gave the estimate, is worried about the Easter holidays.

The organisation is backing a campaign that Cornwall is Open for Business

Spokesman Tim Jones says: "It's a big blow. We can't ask Network Rail to do anymore than they can at the moment in repairing the line but we need to make sure that we recover the image bit which is that we're open for business.

"We must give people real-time information and that, effectively, the run-up to Easter starts pretty much anytime now and I think very many of the holiday decisions are last-minute decisions but we give them as much time to prepare for that as possible and April frankly is too late."

MP for St Ives and the Isles of Scilly, Andrew George, spoke to Patrick Hallgate, Mark Hopwood, rail Minister Stephen Hammond MP and others on Wednesday afternoon to seek an update on progress at Dawlish and on the longer term solutions to achieve resilience on the line. He said: "In spite of the impact of the Valentine Day storm, I'm encouraged to hear about the progress which Network Rail has made. Providing no similar storms interrupt progress I feel reassured that the full Pz to Paddington service will be up and running again before the Easter period.

"This is good news and I congratulate all of those involved".

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Pictures from First Great Western

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