30th November 2017

The Government’s recently published ‘Strategic Vision on Rail’ is welcome news for rail campaigners across the South West argues Conservative MEP, Ashley Fox.

In total the Government is planning a £47.9bn overhaul of the country’s rail network. This will lead to an expanded network and improved reliability for passengers. The report specifically mentions several schemes in the South West including the Bristol to Portishead, Exeter to Okehampton and Bere Alston to Tavistock lines and how local authorities are pushing for new rail schemes.

The report also highlights the problem of congestion facing many of the region's cities, such as Bristol, and argues that our current, and former railway, network can be used to tackle the issue. It sets the framework for an ambitious ‘freight via rail’ strategy to move more and more goods on our railways in order to reduce the amount being transported by road.

“Many of us in the South West have been calling for more investment in our rail network. We need to make sure that railways are integral to new housing developments across the region,” comments Mr Fox. “If we want to cut congestion on our roads then we need people to be able to get around via other means.”

“This means enthusiastically embracing a 19th century solution to our 21st century problems. Our railways were the catalyst for the economic growth of our past, and they have the potential to drive forward the economy of our future as well.”

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