Transport Secretary Chris Grayling commits to delivering a modern railway in the south-west resilient to extreme weather


February 28
17:40 2018

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has today (28 February 2018) committed to delivering a modern railway in the south-west that is resilient to extreme weather, in the governments response to a report by the Peninsula Rail Task Force.

Improving the resilience of the South West Peninsula is part of the biggest overhaul of the Great Western route since Brunel started work on the line more than 175 years ago, with 5.7 billion being invested in modernising the line and improving journeys for passengers. Central to this vision are upgrades to stretches of railway that run close to the sea through Teignmouth and Dawlish, safeguarding their future against damage as when storms washed away part of the line at Dawlish in 2014.

The government has already provided 15 million for Network Rail to design a long-lasting solution to this problem, in addition to the 40 million spent by Network Rail to repair the damage caused in the 2014 storm.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

We are investing in the biggest modernisation of our railway network since Victorian times, providing faster, more reliable and more frequent services for passengers across the country.

The 2014 storms caused devastation to Dawlish and huge disruption followed. It has been a key priority since I became Transport Secretary.

Thats why were investing in the infrastructure of the region making it easier for people to get around and better connecting the south west to the rest of the country. And thats why sorting out the route through Dawlish is my number one national rail priority.

From the summer, passengers will be also able to take advantage of 29 Intercity Express trains running from London to Penzance. The new bi-mode trains will provide faster, more comfortable and more reliable services, adding an additional 1000 peak time seats compared to today.

Other improvements include:

  • the start of a two-train per hour service between Plymouth and Penzance.
  • the end of Pacer trains
  • free Wi-Fi on all GWR trains
  • substantial car park extensions at stations across the peninsula including a completed scheme at Tiverton Parkway and further schemes at St Erth and Taunton
  • investment of 9 million to update the Cornish sleeper service
  • instructing GWR to examine how the line between Exeter and Okehampton could see the reinstatement of regular train services.

Elsewhere in the region:

  • the government is investing more than 1.6 billion in upgrading the A303 near Stonehenge, linking the south-east and the M5 in the south-west to improve journey times, reduce congestion and improve air quality for millions of people, while also supporting 120,000 extra jobs and 100,000 new homes across the region
  • local authorities will benefit from 1.3 billion funding to maintain local roads in the current funding period
  • the government awarded more than 970 million in local growth funding to boost jobs and business in the area
  • the government announced at the Budget to invest 79 million to build the A30 link road for St Austell
  • the government is investing 60 million in a series of local road schemes, with funding from the National Productivity Investment Fund

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