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Fears Over Future of Cornish Rail Links

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Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 2:04pm 27th July 2012.

Pirate FM has learnt Cornwall could lose a third of its direct trains to London.

The Department of Transport has confirmed it is asking rail bosses to price up running just six a day as well as the nine we have got at the moment.

The council says it is a chance to get the extra services written into the franchise.

Leader Alec Robertson said: “It is vital that Cornwall now comes together to press the Government to retain the direct services and carry out the further improvements. We need to lobby hard over the next few months to achieve this and ensure that Cornwall does not get left behind as other parts of the country see significant improvements to their rail services.

Chris Pomfret, the Chairman of the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Improved rail services are key to growing Cornwall’s economy. Good transport links are essential to maintaining economic growth.

“We now need business leaders to get behind our campaign and press the Government to support our plans”.

Transport Minister Theresa Villiers said: “Cornwall Council expressed their concern about the initial proposals in the Invitation to Tender.  Following a meeting with Alec Robertson and Chris Pomfret, I decided to add two priced options in the Great Western ITT, one of which would allow for the retention of nine through services to Penzance and one of which would provide an enhanced regional service on the Cornish Main Line, if affordable solutions can be found.

“This keeps open the issue of how many through services will be provided in the new franchise and will enable further work to be done both by the Department for Transport and Cornwall Council on the best use of railway infrastructure in Cornwall. The Coalition Government appreciates the importance of this issue for Cornwall and listened to local views before making today’s announcement. Whatever the outcome of this process, rail passengers in Cornwall will still be provided with nine journeys per day between London and Penzance, in addition to the Sleeper service.”

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