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Cornwall Rail Cuts Fears

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3:06pm 17th July 2012

The government is refusing to rule out slashing trains from Cornwall to London.

Pirate FM revealed yesterday the number of services could plummet from nine a day to just six.

St Ives MP Andrew George and North Cornwall's Dan Rogerson have been meeting the Transport Minister.

Andrew George said, "I fear that they won't be dancing in the streets of Penzance by the end of the week, if the government does go ahead with reducing the service, as we suspect, by a third."

Transport Secretary Justine Greening insists there will be some benefits for the Duchy: "Investment we're making will open up real oportunities for us to cascade rolling stock. For example, the high speed diesel fleet that's currently in the middle and mainline will be available and we will look to see how we can use that effectively on other parts of the newtwork."

Campaigners are worried the proposals could set Cornwall's rail service back ten years.

David Regwell from South West Transport Network said changes would affect passengers.

"They would notice more overcrowding, more difficulties with services, and higher fares. We'll be back to where we were at the start of the original franchise when the government cut back the level of services, when we had not enough rolling stock to run the services in Cornwall and Devon."

"We need train services to provide economic growth in Cornwall, and if we're to grow our way out of the recession as the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister said yesterday, then key to that is good public transport and key to that is having a good rail service between Cornwall and London."

The government is expected to publish the tenders for the new rail franchises for England and Wales this week.

Cornwall Council had been lobbying ministers for improvements, both locally and connecting Cornwall to the rest of the UK.

Leader Alec Robertston said, "This would be a serious set back for Cornwall’s economy. At a time when other parts of the country are seeing a £9.4 billion package of improvements to their rail services, we would actually see a cut to services in Cornwall”.

"We understand the need for central government to find savings to tackle the national debt crisis and are working hard to grow our own economy in order to increase our own income and reduce our welfare dependency.  Over the past 10 years we have invested more than any other local authority in improving our rail network resulting in much larger increase in passenger numbers in Cornwall than in other parts of the country."

3:06pm 17th July 2012

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