£30million in next month’s Budget should be committed to cut the rail journey from Plymouth to Exeter by three minutes, Labour MP Luke Pollard told a debate in Parliament on Wedneday.
Leading a Westminster Hall debate, Mr Pollard also called on the Government to make a long-term investment to reduce journey times from Plymouth to London from three hours 30 minutes to two hours 15 minutes.
Mr Pollard, Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, said the Devon Banks – steep inclines between Plymouth and Exeter – were being repaired next year.
Labour MP Luke Pollard
While this work is going on the track could be straightened, rails replaced and the speed limit lifted from 60mph to 75mph, cutting three minutes off the Plymouth-Exeter journey, he said, as the Plymouth Herald reports.
Torbay MP Kevin Foster referring to the vulnerable Dawlish/Teignmouth section, and said: “It’s bizarre that with some services you have to look at the weather forecast and the shipping forecast.”
A train on the sea-battered Dawlish line
Gary Streeter said successive governments had failed to give the Westcountry the investment it deserves. “It’s another slap in the face,” he said.
Mr Streeter said he was disappointed the Government was not formally responding to the 20-year plan drawn up by the Peninsula Rail Task Force.
He said the onboard connectivity was seen as even more crucial than journey times and called for the new Global System for Mobile communications – Railways to be installed on Westcountry trains. “We want this now,” he said. “We want it in 2018.”
Ben Bradshaw added: “With the storm clouds of Brexit gathering … we’re running out of time to get meaningful investment in our infrastructure.”
He said that the line was cut at Cowley Bridge twice in the three years before the 2014 Dawlish crisis but there was still no funding allocated “We are facing another risk that the line will be flooded there.”
Source: Devon live