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Cornwall's Storm-Damaged Rail Link Reopens

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7:07am 4th April 2014
(Updated 7:07am 4th April 2014)

The next train to arrive in Cornwall will pass through Dawlish.

The storm-battered line and our main link to London has re-opened on Friday.

There were claims the damage was costing the Duchy and Devon's economies up to £20 pounds a day.

Network Rail has completed the repairs ahead of schedule and just as the Easter getaway gets underway.

The message to the world: Cornwall is open for business.

But that comes amid reports bookings for the school holidays are down 25% in the south-west.

Tourism bosses say forward bookings for the summer are looking up.

Speaking during the storms, Andy Milson from Lusty Glaze told Pirate FM locals are pulling together: "Anything we can do to help anyone else you will do because we're all in it together. Around the coast of Cornwall - this is where most of the tourist business is located and it's hitting everyone and everyone will be pulling together to put it right."

James works at the Crooked Inn near Saltash and says they are hoping for a bumper year: "Last summer was fantastic weather, it was widely reported all over the country and we saw a direct rise in business with the good weather so it's very important that people shout about Cornwall being open for business, definitely; we see the results daily.

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It has cost £35 million to repair the damage to the line at Dawlish, which was left dangling above the sea in February.

David Cameron has described it as a 'great day.'

Cornwall Council Leader John Pollard has welcomed the news: “It is excellent news that the rail line has re-opened much earlier than originally predicted and I would like to pay tribute to the hard work of Network Rail in achieving this.

“Over the past two months everyone has worked together to keep Cornwall connected, with staff from First Great Western and Cross Country Trains ensuring that transport services were maintained while the rain line was shut. Now the line has re opened we will be working with First Great Western to promote travelling to Cornwall by train.

“Cornwall Council is committed to supporting rail travel and we will now be working with our MP’s and other partners to ensure that the Government invests in long term solutions to ensure that there is a sustainable rail link to and from Cornwall.  It is not acceptable for the main rail link to be shut for long periods of time and we look forward to seeing this commitment from the Government.”

The re opening of the rail line has also been welcomed by Malcolm Bell, Head of Visit Cornwall, the Cornwall Development Company tourism service: “Everyone has pulled together to ensure that Cornwall has remained Open for Business. There were also additional flights operated by Flybe from Newquay Cornwall Airport to London. The reopening of the line from Paddington to Penzance is the final piece of the puzzle. 

“The re opening has come just in time for the Easter break and the team who have worked around the clock to repair the damage should be applauded for their efforts.”

The popular Night Riveria Sleeper Service from London to Cornwall also resumes on Friday and to celebrate, Visit Cornwall has created a short film to illustrate the romance and nostalgia of the journey.

7:07am 4th April 2014

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