South West must get more rail funding, Council Leaders demand
29th January 2016
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The Leaders of Exeter City Council and Teignbridge District Council have written to Ministers expressing their dismay at the Government’s unwillingness to fund rail in the south west.

Exeter City Council Leader Pete Edwards and Teignbridge District Council LeaderJeremy Christophers have called on Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to support the Peninsula Rail Task Force andfund two studies that are vital to an investment bid later in the year.

They have also criticised the apparent decision of Network Rail not to carry out further work to the Dawlish sea wall until after 2019.

Cllr Edwards said: “In denying funding for these studies, the Government is expecting the South West to bid for investment with one hand tied behind its back. This is despite the Prime Minister acknowledging that rail is essential to our economy, and the Transport Select Committee saying that we have been starved of investment.”

Cllr Christophers drew attention to the value of the coastal rail route to the populations of Dawlish, Teignmouth and Newton Abbot as well as places further west. “No-one wants a repeat of the TV footage of rail lines suspended over a void” he said. “The South West needs to be open for business at all times, with reliable rail connections. It is a false economy to cut spending now, only to risk another £35m repair bill, not to mention the damage to the economy of up to £1.2bn.”

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