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30.10.04
Minister delares £14 million West Country rail improvement complete

Tony McNulty MP, Minister of State for Transport, visited the South West today to mark the completion of a £14.3 million project to improve the region's railway.

The doubling of a previously single-track section of the Great Western Main Line between Truro and St Austell in Cornwall, completed this month, will result in significant improvements in punctuality, provide for future growth in services, and boost the region's economy.

Investment for the project came from the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) and the EU Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, in partnership with Cornwall County Council and the Government Office for the South West. The work was managed by Network Rail, and will deliver benefits for passengers travelling on Wessex Trains, First Great Western, Virgin CrossCountry and Arriva Trains Wales.

Senior representatives from the rail industry and local government today joined the Minister on a special 'City of Truro' steam engine service from Plymouth to Truro. The steam train passed a modern passenger train on the new double track railway - which lies between Probus and Burngullow - the first time services have been timetabled to pass on the new section.

To mark the significance of the new section of track to the region, the Minister rededicated a High Speed Train as the 'City of Truro', as the historic steam engine and the modern-day diesel locomotive stood alongside each other at Truro Station.

Speaking at the event, Tony McNulty MP said: "The completion of this project will see major improvements along the entire Great Western Main Line. Rail services in and around the South West will run more efficiently and passengers will reap the benefits of a better service. It is pleasing to see so many bodies working together in partnership to deliver such a successful project, once again on time and on budget."

David Quarmby, Chairman of the Strategic Rail Authority, said: "This project shows that when the rail industry and regional bodies get their heads together, we can find ways of making significant improvements for passengers, in a short timeframe, and within a sensible budget. This is a true success story for the West Country."

John Armitt, Chief Executive of Network Rail, said: "The dedication of the Network Rail teams involved in this project has meant that we have been able to provide long term benefits for the people of Cornwall as well as the millions who visit the region each year. It is also the result of a `can do attitude' amongst all the key players in the rail industry, together with help from Cornwall County Council and the Government Office for the South West."

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. The opening is fantastic news and removes one of Cornwall's transport bottlenecks while reaffirming our main line status."

 

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Editor's notes:

1. The section of the Great Western Main Line between Probus and Burngullow was reduced to a single track by British Rail in 1986, to save money. This has caused a bottleneck on the main line between Plymouth and Penzance, which has impacted on both timetable flexibility and punctuality, particularly as the railway has become busier during recent years.
2. The Probus-Burngullow redoubling scheme has the potential to generate 8.6m additional passenger miles over a 30-year period, and 283,000 additional passenger journeys.
3. The works are expected to provide knock-on punctuality benefits right the way along the Great Western Main Line, and on the cross country route via Bristol to Birmingham.
4. The total investment in this scheme of £14.3m comprises of £11.3 million granted by the SRA and £3 million of funding from the Objective One European Regional Development Fund. This was applied for by Cornwall County Council and awarded through the Government Office for the South West.
5. Amey Rail Ltd carried out the main track construction works under contract to Network Rail, with Alfred McAlpine and EWS also involved in the work programme.

 

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Sue Wolstenholme
Objective One Communications
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01579 370991


lmroberts@cornwall.gov.uk

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