MPs to state case for Cotswold Line improvements

By Gary Smee Monday 19 November 2012 Updated: 20/11 09:26

THE TRANSPORT minister has agreed to meet Worcestershire's MPs as they bid to improve train services on the Cotswold Line.

Worcester MP Robin Walker and Westminster colleagues Harriett Baldwin and Peter Luff will discuss the future of the main line from Worcester into London when they meet with Simon Burns on December 4.

It comes after the three signed a joint letter along with Herefordshire MPs Jesse Norman and Bill Wiggin calling for a faster and more frequent train service and criticising the franchise tender documents published last July for a lack of ambition.

The MPs believe the route, which is partly single-track, is overcrowded and infrequent for users.

The scheduled meeting with Mr Burns comes as a full review of the West Coast Mainline and rail franchising gets underway.

Mr Walker said: "I am determined to get better and faster rail connections for Worcester. This would benefit my constituents and local businesses as well as help the whole county to attract inward investment.

“It seems crazy that it was quicker to catch a train to Worcester from London one hundred years ago than it is today and we need to see real change fast to improve the situation."

“The pause in bidding for the Great Western franchise provides an opportunity to secure change and it is absolutely right that Worcestershire MPs should work together to secure it.”

Mrs Baldwin said The Cotswold Line was a crucial link for businesses and urgently needed improving to help the growth of the local economy.

"At the moment, many of our constituents travel on the West Coast Mainline and to Warwick Parkway to avoid the slow and unreliable service on the Cotswold Line," she said.

"The pause in assessing the West Coast and Great Western bids allows us time to renew our call for an improved service for Herefordshire and Worcestershire commuters and a departmental commitment to invest in the infrastructure."

Peter Luff MP, whose Mid Worcestershire constituency includes the site of the proposed Worcestershire Parkway station, added: "Worcestershire is probably the least well connected county in England when it comes to rail travel. But it has the potential to be much better.

"The Worcestershire Parkway station could help change that with faster and more regular trains.

"But to get the most out of it the government also needs to sanction the redoubling of the tack between Evesham and Norton Junction, something that was bizarrely omitted for the major redoubling scheme between Evesham and Oxfordshire."

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