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08.12.03
Final go ahead for vital rail project

Final approval has been given for the vital £14.3 million project to dual the main railway line between Probus and Burngullow thanks to a £3 million investment from the Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

The scheme, which is being funded through a partnership between Cornwall County Council, Objective One and the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA), will upgrade Cornwall's longest section of single track between Probus and Burngullow – the greatest cause of delays to rail traffic on Cornwall's main line.

Trains travelling between Truro and Penzance often have to wait for an oncoming train to clear the 7.5 mile section, which can result in lengthy delays. Removing the bottleneck will reduce delays and improve journey times by at least eight minutes.

The County Council has taken a leading role in developing this vital scheme and has been working with both the Objective One Partnership Office and the Strategic Rail Authority to secure the necessary funding, with further support from the South West Regional Development Agency.

News that the SRA had committed £11.3 m of funding through the Rail Passenger Partnership towards the scheme was announced in July, and now a £3 million investment from the Objective One European Regional Development Fund has also been confirmed, enabling the scheme to go ahead.

"This scheme has received widespread support from organisations across Cornwall and I am delighted that it can now go ahead," said Robert Hichens, the County Council's Executive Member for Strategic Planning and Transport.

"Restoring the original dual line to the existing rail bed will help improve the speed, flexibility, and capacity of the mainline services, helping to draw inward investment into Cornwall and build investor confidence."

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership said: "Fast, reliable rail services are essential to support Cornwall's growing economy and that is why Objective One has invested £3 million in this vital project. This announcement is fantastic news and removes one of Cornwall's transport bottlenecks while reaffirming our main line status."

Stephen Bohane, Cornwall Head of Operations for the South West Regional Development Agency, said: "The RDA has supported this project from the start. Upgrading this stretch of track will make a huge difference to punctuality on Cornwall's main line. That's good news for travellers, good news for business and good news for the region."

Network Rail has appointed Amey Rail to undertake the work, which will begin next month and should be completed by the autumn of 2004.

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Editor's notes:

The 7.5 mile section between Probus and Burngullow was reduced to single track in 1985 and takes more than 10 minutes for a train to complete. Missing an allocated slot to pass along the track can lead to substantial delays as trains from the other direction take precedence.

The SRA expects the scheme will help to generate 8.6m additional passenger miles over a 30-year period, and 283,000 additional passenger journeys.

The £14.3 million investment in the scheme comprises of £11.3 million granted by the SRA and £3 million from the Objective One European Regional Development Fund.

For further information contact:
Laura Tregonning

Deborah Clark & Associates
01872 276276
laura@dclark.co.uk

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Jason Clark
Communications Adviser
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388
objectiveone@cornwall.gov.uk

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